NORK METH ALERT: Scientists in North Korea are mass producing highly addictive crystal meth

Special report: Ian Birrell (left) stands with a North Korean soldier (right) in Pyongyang

Special report: Ian Birrell (left) stands with a North Korean soldier (right) in Pyongyang

Pyongyang – A small army of women, identical in long yellow dresses and clutching golden fans, enter the vast stadium to the adulation of thousands of awed spectators.

They bow in military unison, turn and kneel to a staggering trompe l’oeil: a burning sun emerging in triumphant blaze over snow-clad mountains.

The glorious North Korean dawn plays out across what appears at first to be a colossal screen the entire length of the stadium.

In fact, it is 20,000 well-drilled children turning pages of books with brightly-coloured paper in perfect synchronicity.

The mass games of Pyongyang, capital city of the most closed and repressive state in the world, are twisted propaganda.

Last weekend, I became one of the few Westerners to have witnessed epic scenes that would have made Goebbels weep with pride.

For 90 minutes, a bizarre blend of acrobatics, dancing, martial arts and music unfolds in a frenzy of precision choreography involving 100,000 performers.

Thousands of young women in short-skirted army uniforms dance nimbly with swords held aloft. Then long lines of black-belted men throw judo moves before joining forces to hoist up a huge national flag.

Minutes later, massed ranks of small children spin in somersaults to the crowd’s delight. Giant pigs give birth to dancing piglets while chickens twirl with eggs. Human cannonballs high above our heads fly across the entire stadium – the first through a blazing hoop.

Anthems are sung with evangelical zeal: one supposedly written by the last leader.

They praise nuclear weapons, promise to unify divided Koreans and scorn American imperialists.

Tyrant: Current leader Kim Jong Un surrounded by generals on a recent trip to inspect border defences at the Wolnae Islet Defense Detachment in North Korea

Tyrant: Current leader Kim Jong-un surrounded by generals on a recent trip to inspect border defences at the Wolnae Islet Defense Detachment in North Korea

And, from start to finish, this show promotes the fascistic ideology of  a pure people surrounded by evil  enemies, demanding unflinching  obedience to their rulers.

It is undeniably spectacular – but  as a tribute to a successful modern nation, it’s a monstrous fraud.

North Korea has been imprisoned in a dark past by three generations of a despotic gangster family.

There is no mention of death camps holding an estimated 200,000 slave labourers, of families tortured for watching foreign soap operas, of mothers forced to drown their own babies – atrocities all documented in a disturbing United Nations investigation.

Investigators catalogued horror stories in last week’s report – such as children condemned to a life in prison for the alleged misdeeds of their parents – and compared the regime’s vile crimes to those carried out by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the Nazis.

But now another extraordinary revelation is emerging slowly from defectors: that North Korea is pumping out massive quantities of methamphetamine – or crystal meth, the addictive drug cooked up by a chemistry teacher in the dark US drama Breaking Bad.

'Catastrophic': North Korea is pumping out massive quantities of methamphetamine - or 'crystal meth' (above) - similar to those cooked up by a chemistry teacher in the US drama Breaking Bad

‘Catastrophic’: North Korea is pumping out massive quantities of methamphetamine – or ‘crystal meth’ (above) – similar to those cooked up by a chemistry teacher in the US drama Breaking Bad

A new study reveals vast quantities are being made for export by state-trained scientists in collusion with corrupt officials and criminal gangs in a country desperate for hard currency.

Inevitably, it has ended up creating a catastrophic epidemic back home. In some parts of the country up to 50 per cent of the population are reported to be hooked.

The study discloses drug abuse has reached ‘remarkable proportions and keeps growing, engulfing new social groups and regions’.

The inquiry, by two South Korea-based academics, is based on interviews with 21 recent defectors. It confirms earlier evidence from the US and China, where there are soaring levels of crystal meth addiction in border regions with North Korea…

More from Ian Birrell at Mail Online



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