December 09, 2023

Risky business: How a North Korean woman smuggled and bribed her way to success

Kim Mi Sook shunned typical women’s jobs for dangerous but profitable ventures, making it big as a money broker

A few years ago, a North Korean defector told this author that while women dominate commerce in the DPRK, other activities are almost exclusively done by men.

“Men do dangerous things like, say, smuggling, or trade in gold dust, or antiques,” she said, as other refugees with her nodded in agreement. “It is not something a woman does.”