North Korea Commits Two People to Mental Institutions After Public Outbursts

In two isolated incidents, the coronavirus pandemic ruined their food sales businesses.

North Korea Commits Two People to Mental Institutions After Public Outbursts

Authorities in North Korea have committed two disgruntled food merchants to mental institutions after they lost their composure publicly, a situation that is becoming increasingly common due to the people’s difficulty in making a living during the coronavirus pandemic, sources in the country told RFA.

The pandemic has not been kind to residents who buy and sell goods to support themselves. Emergency restrictions have made travel between provinces illegal, meaning inter-provincial commerce is almost nonexistent.

Additionally, Beijing and Pyongyang agreed at the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020 to close the Sino-Korean border and suspend all trade, a move that was disastrous for the North Korean economy, as well as its food situation.

The absence of Chinese imports has made food prices skyrocket at a time when many families are unable to make money.

People are now being pushed to the brink and are lashing out publicly due to their extremely difficult living circumstances, sources said.

“Last week, a woman in her 40s came out into the street crying loudly. She began to shout, ‘Kill me!’ and she swore at law enforcement agents. So they dragged her away,” a resident of Songchon county in South Pyongan province, north of the capital Pyongyang, told RFA’s Korean Service Tuesday.

Illustration by Rebel Pepper. Credit: RFA

“They detained her in a waiting room at the police department after she violently shook the collar of the security agent… The next day she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to the No. 49 hospital in Yangdok,” said the source, who requested anonymity to speak freely.

The woman had been the sole breadwinner for a relatively large family and had lost her livelihood due to the pandemic.

“She had been living with her elderly parents, now in their 70s, and with three children,” the source said, adding, “She used to sell corn from the rural areas in the marketplace to make a living for the family, but when even short-distance travel became difficult due to emergency coronavirus restrictions, the business fell apart.”

“After severe difficulties, her resentment against the authorities exploded, so she came out into the street and caused a scene by crying and screaming and denouncing the authorities,” said the source.

North Koreans are seeing more and more of these kinds of incidents as economic conditions worsen, according to the source.

“This year alone, in Songchon county, about 10 people were committed to Yangdok Psychiatric Hospital,” a resident of Yangdok county in South Pyongan province told RFA’s Korean Service Tuesday.

“There are people who cannot control their anger because they couldn’t endure the hardships in their lives caused by the coronavirus crisis. They did things like screaming on the road in the middle of the night or voicing their anger or resentment toward authorities with harsh language,” said the source.

As poverty and hunger become more of a constant during the pandemic, these kinds of incidents will happen even more often, the source said.

“Resentment against the country and its leaders is so prevalent that people are driven to insanity. But the authorities do not care about the root causes of the problem and just lock them up as schizophrenics,” he said.

Another source, speaking from North Pyongan province’s Ryongchon county, told RFA the same day that a similar incident occurred there last week.

Illustration by Rebel Pepper. Credit: RFA

“A man in his 40s who made a living selling seafood from Chongjin at the Sinuiju market got in trouble for violating quarantine policy,” said the second source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

Chongjin is an east coast port city and capital of North Hamgyong province, three provinces to the east from northwestern coastal North Pyongan. Travel restrictions during the pandemic forbid travel between provinces.

“Authorities confiscated all of his seafood, and his business was completely ruined. Outraged by the injustice, the man took to drinking and set fire to the storage room at his house, causing a great disturbance in the neighborhood,” said the second source.

“Security agents tried to stop him from lashing out in anger, but he had built up resentment against the authorities and hurled all kinds of abusive language at the agents,” the second source said.
Illustration by Rebel Pepper. Credit: RFA

The agents took him to a detention center on charges of arson in a residential area, and once there, he continued to scream incessantly, according to the second source.

“The police department therefore classified him as mentally ill and put him in a psychiatric hospital,” the second source said.

“After the incident, residents have become suspicious of law enforcement for committing a mentally capable person simply because he defied law enforcement. They are critical of the authorities, saying they too may one day be committed if they find themselves in such a tough situation.”

Reported by Hyemin Son for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Man fitted with first double arm transplant.

Kpavogur, Iceland, A man who underwent the first full double arm transplant in the world has revealed that the surgery was successful. Felix Gretarrson, 49, from the town of Kpavogur in Iceland, lost both arms after he got electrocuted while trying to fix a power line in 1998. Felix’s both arms were set on fire …

Man fitted with first double arm transplant.

Kpavogur, Iceland,

A man who underwent the first full double arm transplant in the world has revealed that the surgery was successful. Felix Gretarrson, 49, from the town of Kpavogur in Iceland, lost both arms after he got electrocuted while trying to fix a power line in 1998.

Felix’s both arms were set on fire and doctors had to operate on him 54 times while he was in a coma for three months. The injuries were so serious that doctors had to remove both of his arms to save his life.

After coming out of the coma, the electrician fell into substance abuse to deal with the trauma of the accident.

In 2007, Felix saw an advertisement on TV for a lecture at the University of Iceland by renowned surgeon Dr Jean-Michel Dubernard who is known for performing the first successful hand transplant in 1998. Dr Dubernard told him that there was a possibility of performing the operation, but he would need to move to France for the preparations.

The surgeon accepted his application four years later after which he launched a fundraising campaign to arrange money for the operation.

On the 23 year anniversary of his accident on January 12 this year, Felix had a double arm and shoulder transplant in a 15-hour surgery.

After hundreds of hours of rehabilitation work, Felix can now move his arms. He is now fighting to hug his children again and his wife and grandchildren for the first time.

“The first thing I thought was who the f**k does this on purpose, because the pain when I woke up was so excruciating. It was like there was two trucks parked on each of my shoulders. Having been through hospitalization before I kind of knew the first time it feels like the end of the world and that you’re going to be a patient for the rest of your life. But when you recover you know it’s just temporary this s**t will pass so I put my heels down and put my head down,” Felix was quoted according to Daily Star.

He said, “The feeling in the nerves can be a little painful when they grow. If you poke my arm I can feel the nerves inside even if I can’t feel the skin.”

He added, “I am moving the elbow in water, my bicep is now working and that’s only five months after. I just noticed the veins in my arms are starting to expand in the heat and that doesn’t happen unless automatic nervous system is working. I am so hopeful that I am going to be able to move my hands as well which nobody expected, except me.”

He was laying on his back in recovery for six weeks.

In March, Felix was moved to rehabilitation. His body rejected the new limbs twice and he even got a painful skin fungus, however, Felix beat the odds and is making incredible progress.

Doctors said that nerves grow on average a millimeter every day. They estimate the nerves will reach his elbow in a year and his hands in two.

“I have achieved something that wasn’t supposed to be possible if I wouldn’t have pushed it and pushed it,” Felix said.

Source : Voice of South Asia More   

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