A Google Earth View of North Korean Prison Camp

by Noah Glyn

The blog North Korean Economy Watch, run by Curtis Melvin, a graduate student in economics at George Mason, recently published images from Google Earth that appear to show a North Korean prison camp. 

The picture above is the outline of the camp. The image below shows what is likely the northern entrance: 

This image reveals new guard posts around the perimeter: 

And this picture is of new residential units: 

The blog One Free Korea analyzed the images: 

1.  The perimeter is consistent with the signs characteristic of a kwan-li-so, a political prison camp; however, there is no witness corroboration of what this compound is. It could be a military base, although the perimeters of military bases, usually have a different appearance.  Or, it could be a temporary detention center or a kyo-hwa-so, a reeducation camp.

2.  There are no direct road links between this compound and Camp 14.  The only road links pass outside both compounds.  That suggests to me that this area is not administered jointly with Camp 14, and most likely holds a different classification of prisoners.  The location is probably a matter of geographical convenience — this is a good part of North Korea to hide people.

3.  The compound is small — probably large enough to hold a few hundred prisoners, if this is a prison, and if it’s filled to capacity. 


The Corner

The one and only.