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  • [MODEM NOISE]

  • [CEREMONIAL MUSIC]

  • SHANE SMITH: I've been to the most

  • fucked up place on Earth--

  • twice.

  • The Hermit Kingdom of North Korea.

  • (WHISPERING) It's totally insane.

  • The thing is, when you go to North Korea,

  • you're not a tourist.

  • You're on a government-sanctioned tour.

  • And you can't go anywhere outside your hotel without

  • your guide, your translator, and your secret police.

  • You're also not allowed cellphones, radios, or

  • computers of any kind, and are taken on a tightly scheduled,

  • highly orchestrated tour--

  • only of the sites and monuments that

  • they want you to see.

  • So you end up travelling for hours and hours on empty roads

  • only to see the Palace of the People, or the Library of the

  • People, or the Soccer Team of the People.

  • The only thing you never get to actually meet is the people

  • of the people.

  • In fact, you're not allowed to talk to anyone unless they're

  • officially sanctioned as part of the tour.

  • [VOCAL MUSIC]

  • So when I heard that North Korea was actually exporting

  • its own people as a way to generate much-needed hard

  • currency, I wanted to go and see if I could actually talk

  • to them and maybe find out what it's actually like to

  • live inside the Hermit Kingdom.

  • We found out from one of our correspondents in Russia that

  • there were actually secret North Korean labor camps

  • hidden in the depths of Siberia.

  • So we flew to the far eastern region of Russia and hopped on

  • the Trans-Siberian railway, which is essentially the only

  • lifeline for Siberia and the Far East region.

  • Her bum was hanging out of her shorts.

  • We're here in Khabarovsk in Siberia, we're about to get on

  • this train for about 28 hours to go to

  • the middle of nowhere.

  • And we're going to go check out the secret North Korean

  • labor camps in Siberia.

  • It's hot as shit.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • SHANE SMITH: Simon, hi.

  • SIMON OSTROVSKY: Hi.

  • SHANE SMITH: My name is Shane.

  • I'm from America.

  • We're here with our friend Simon.

  • We've been on the train for a long time.

  • We're going a bit goofy.

  • Where are we going?

  • SIMON OSTROVSKY: We're going to Tynda, in the Amur region

  • of Russia, in the Far East to look for the North Koreans.

  • SHANE SMITH: The thing about this is, it's mind boggling

  • that North Korea, the most hermetic state in the world,

  • the Hermit Kingdom it's actually called, is

  • outsourcing its labor.

  • But they outsource their labor into miniature North Korean

  • villages so that you don't ever lose the North Korean

  • experience.

  • So it's like North Korean-type buildings, North Korean

  • propaganda, North Korean pictures, North Korean songs.

  • They wake up and sing the North Korean anthem.

  • SIMON OSTROVSKY: They bring North Koreans in for

  • three-year contracts.

  • After they're done working here, they get sent back to

  • North Korea.

  • They spend a month in a reintegration camp to get all

  • of the propaganda that they've missed.

  • Most of the workers are over 40 years old, so they all have

  • families back home.

  • So they know that if they try to run away, then their family

  • back home gets in trouble.

  • SHANE SMITH: The North Koreans are making money to support

  • the regime.

  • And these poor dudes are out there in the middle of nowhere

  • singing "God save Kim Jong-Il" and working in near-slave

  • conditions.

  • SIMON OSTROVSKY: This is kind of the only place where you

  • can actually have an entre into how they actually live

  • day-to-day.

  • SHANE SMITH: Question--

  • are we going to get assassinated for going to talk

  • to the North Koreans?

  • SIMON OSTROVSKY: Quite possibly.

  • People aren't going to be happy to see us.

  • That's for sure.

  • SHANE SMITH: Why is it that the best stories always take

  • so long to get to?

  • SIMON OSTROVSKY: Because all of the easy-to-get-to ones

  • have been done by programs better than yours.

  • SHANE SMITH: [LAUGH]

  • He's a prickly pear, this guy.

  • He's a prickly pear.

  • You should be British because you're a cunt.

  • [LAUGH]

  • Now, you have to remember that everything in Siberia, almost

  • without exception, is very, very fucking far away from

  • everything else.

  • And even though it was the height of summer and 100

  • degrees outside, because it's Russia, the heat gauge on the

  • train had been turned on full and then broken off--

  • probably circa 1971.

  • So the experience is essentially like being trapped

  • on a boiling-hot, reeking, drunken sauna 24 hours a day.

  • Oh shit, hello.

  • Now we've got crazy dude here.

  • MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

  • [LAUGHS]

  • SHANE SMITH: It's a very good thing I've taken a Xanax.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

[MODEM NOISE]

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North Korean Labor Camps - VICE NEWS - Part 1 of 7

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    許白白 posted on 2013/03/20
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