Crystal meth is the most popular lunar New Year gift in North Korea
But experts say the custom of giving crystal meth in North Korea – where it's called "pingdu ", the Korean transliteration of the Chinese word" ice drug "-
Teodora Gyupchanova, a researcher at the North Korea's Human Rights Database Center in Seoul, said that Many defectors interviewed by the center in 2016 spoke of methamphetamine as a popular gift for birthdays, graduations and "holidays like the Lunar New Year".
Mr. Lankov of NK News stated that crystal meth stories were very common when he and a co-author interviewed defectors for a 2013 study on drug use in Korea. North. He added that defectors had made few references to crystal meth over the past few years, perhaps indicating a decline in their overall use.
Methamphetamine is illegal in North Korea, along with other private, legal economic activities "because officials agree to look elsewhere and that the state indirectly benefits from A food chain of bribes that goes up to the top, "said Justin Hastings, a political scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia, who has studied North Korean drug trafficking networks.
"Over time, this has created a culture in which people are willing to take risks to earn money and the official prohibition makes little sense", said Mr. Hastings.
Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the North Korea Human Rights Committee, a Washington think tank, said that Kim Jong-un's regime, the leader of the North, currently concentrated all its resources. s on priorities such as developing missiles and giving national elites access to luxury goods.
"As long as drug use is not a challenge for the regime, it dulls the will and spirit of the North Korean people. the government tacitly allows it to continue despite the enormous problems it creates for physical and mental health, "said Scarlatoiu.