Kim Jong Un Orders Searches After Bullets Go Missing 

( )- Earlier this month, the North Korean military reportedly put a city on lockdown until investigators could find 653 lost bullets, Radio Free Asia reported on Sunday. 

Sources told Radio Free Asia that authorities conducted house-to-house searches looking for the bullets that went missing during a military withdrawal from Hyesan, a city of over 200,000 people. 

Some soldiers discovered they were missing rifle bullets on March 7 as the Korean People’s Army 7th Corps was withdrawing from the area surrounding Hyesan which is near the border with China. The 7th Corps was deployed to the region in 2020 to enforce the pandemic-era border closure. The soldiers began withdrawing from the area on February 25. 

However, an unnamed source told Radio Free Asia that the soldiers who discovered the missing bullets did not immediately report the loss, choosing instead to look for the bullets on their own. When their search came up empty, the soldiers notified residents who began a “rigorous search,” the source explained. 

Eventually, the military and area police launched an official investigation, sealing off the city while conducting house-by-house searches for the bullets. The source told Radio Free Asia that anyone who has seen or picked up any bullets was required to report it immediately. Failing to report could lead to punishment, the source added. 

According to the source, the city has been locked down for nearly two weeks and will not reopen until every last one of the 653 bullets is recovered.  

The residents of Hyesan, who have spent the last three years dealing with the military presence due to the pandemic-imposed border closure had been eagerly looking forward to the military withdrawal. But now, with the city on lockdown over the hunt for the bullets, the residents find themselves with even less freedom than before, Radio Free Asia reported. 

An official from Ryanggang province told Radio Free Asia that orders were issued last week for farms, factories, social groups, and neighborhood watch units to cooperate with the military in the “ammunition-related investigation.” 

The official, who spoke anonymously, told Radio Free Asia that after ten days of searching, the authorities resorted to spreading fear among the residents by falsely claiming North Korea was under attack and the invaders were threatening Kim Jong-un.