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Hoeryong concentration camp (or Haengyong concentration camp) is a prison camp in North Korea. The official name is Kwalliso (penal labour colony) No. 22. The camp is a maximum security area, completely isolated from the outside world.:105–107 Prisoners and their families are held in lifelong detention. Extreme human rights violations including routine torture, forced labor and human medical experiments have been attested to by defectors previously employed at the camp.
In 2012, satellite image analysis and reports indicated major changes.
Camp 22 is located in Hoeryong county, North Hamgyong province, in northeast North Korea, near the border. It is situated in a large valley with many side valleys, surrounded by 400–700 m (1,300–2,300 ft) high mountains. The southwest gate of the camp is located around 7 km (4.3 mi) northeast of downtown Hoeryong, the main gate is located around 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of Kaishantun, Jilin province of China. The western boundary of the camp runs parallel at a distance of 5–8 km (3.1–5.0 mi) from the Tumen River, which forms the border with China. The camp was not included in maps until recently and the North Korean government denied its existence.
Camp 22 is around 225 km2 (87 sq mi) in area. It is surrounded by an inner 3300 volt electric fence and an outer barbed wire fence, with traps and hidden nails between the two fences.:216–224 The camp is controlled by roughly 1,000 guards and 500–600 administrative agents. The guards are equipped with automatic rifles, hand grenades and trained dogs.
In the 1990s there were an estimated 50,000 prisoners in the camp. Prisoners are mostly people who criticized the government,:131–132 people deemed politically unreliable (such as South Korean prisoners of war, Christians, returnees from Japan) or purged senior party members.:134–136 Based on the guilt-by-association principle (Korean: 연좌제, yeonjwaje) they are often imprisoned together with the whole family including children and the elderly, and including any children born in the camp. All prisoners are detained until they die; they are never released.:187–188
The camp is divided into several prison labour colonies::333–336
Haengyong-ri is the camp headquarters with administration offices, a food factory, a garment factory, detention center, guards’ quarters and prisoner family quarters.:105–107
Chungbong-ri is a mining section with a coal mine, loading depot, railway station, guards’ quarters and single prisoners’ quarters.
Naksaeng-ri, Sawul-ri, Kulsan-ri and Namsok-ri are farming sections with prisoner family quarters.
There is an execution site in Sugol Valley, at the edge of the camp
Former guard Ahn Myong-chol describes the conditions in the camp as harsh and life-threatening. He recalls the shock he felt upon his first arrival at the camp, where he likened the prisoners to walking skeletons, dwarfs, and cripples in rags. Ahn estimates that about 30% of the prisoners have deformities, such as torn off ears, smashed eyes, crooked noses, and faces covered with cuts and scars resulting from beatings and other mistreatment. Around 2,000 prisoners, he says, have missing limbs, but even prisoners who need crutches to walk must still work.
facts about north korea