North Korean Labor Camps

North Korean Labor Camps

2011, Society  -   53 Comments
Ratings: 8.38/10 from 48 users.

North Korean Labor CampsFounder of VICE Shane Smith spends an eternity on a train and hops out at the end of the line in Siberia to investigate logging camps that use North Korean slave labor.

While on his way to uncover labor camps setup by Kim Jong Il and North Korea as a way to bring in hard currency for their impoverished nation, Shane Smith gets re-accustomed with how to handle Russian alcoholics aboard the trans-Siberian railway.

After many days on trains and much vodka Shane arrives in Tynda but has to dodge the Russian secret police - the FSB. After sidestepping the authorities and boarding a single carriage train to the middle of nowhere Shane arrives at a Nortth Korean labor camp.

Accompanied by the former chief of police Shane and Simon break into a disbanded North Korean labor camp to explore the propaganda and the "Laboratory of Kim Jong Il". On their way out with their arms full of "memorabilia" Shane and Simon fear that they've been caught but end up being introduced to a real North Korean labor worker by two Russian scrap metal dealers.

Shane and Simon head off to Tataul and link up with a member of the local mafia known as "The Fish". From there they drive out into the forest and into an active North Korean labor camp in the middle of Siberia where they meet North Korean workers who inadvertently admit that living conditions back in their homeland were tough- something that would never of be mentioned back in their police-state.

More adventures in the middle of nowhere; Shane and Simon are introduced to more North Korean workers by their gold-teethed guide. Here they find out that many workers are being stationed in the camps for upto 10 years but the conversation halts when the managers or the logging camp arrive.

The FSB (Russian secret police), North Korean secret police and the local militia all decide to find out what Shane has been getting upto, so the only logical thing to do is make a run for the border.

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53 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mikala

    North Korea - Hell on earth.

  2. John

    So inaccurate makes it hard to take it seriously. Incorrect geographic locations and names of cities.

  3. Warren Lauzon

    When a Siberian labor camp is better than your home country, you might suspect that North Korea has issues.

  4. Alexandru Matei

    Same s*it happened in Romania for decades on end under the communist regime.

    The funny thing is that under Ceausescu (the communist leader), every single worker in Romania had a house, had a job, and afforded to raise as many as 3 - 4 kids or even more. The communism offered security, life was more secure.

    Now in democracy, with a salary of under $300 you afford nothing as a young college graduate that's looking to make his own life.

    1. fk_censors

      If you prefer slavery in exchange for a few breadcrumbs thrown to you by your masters, feel free (pun intended) to find an arrangement that works like that for you. But please don't impose your "worker's paradise" bulls*it on others. There are people willing to put up with a bit of uncertainty for a much more exciting thing called freedom. The freedom to pick a path in life, to be allowed to visit other countries, to express opinions, and to follow their own goals in life rather than to be peons in someone else's social experiment. Oh - and not many people risked their lives to come into Romania in those days, but I remember many people left their cushy jobs and security, and risked their very lives to go to a freer country where none of that stability was guaranteed.

  5. disqus_iOrcHrAk26

    Do you call this a documentary? Such an important subject and this guy only brings shame to his fellow Americans by his contribution to this video. What a pity.

    1. Bruh

      He’s Canadian

  6. HeySuze Christ

    (aside from the sad stuff)

  7. dopefire14

    Great Doc. Hope to See More on This. I Have to Admit I Admire how Dedicated North Koreans are to Their Country, I Also Love how Much they Despise Us. To Me it's a type of Loyalty like No other and They Pride Themselves on That. Therefore It's Almost Pointless for Us to Relate but it's Was Worth a Shot.

    1. Space_Cadet_1952

      "Dedicated to their country" - it's called 'brain washing'. Read '1984' by George Orwell and 'Propaganda' by Edward Bernays.

  8. XenoLair

    I am cursed. I like north korean topics and have to end up watching anti NK propaganda. This is not a documentary about NK, is one about the whole ******* world. NK was jus taken as an example.

  9. Christian Imasda

    so smotri means look?

  10. David Ewer

    Great little doc - part 3 missed but good anyway.

  11. tomregit

    Has anyone here ever been in the bush for any length of time when it was cold and pissed rain for a week? Arisen in darkness; felt cold, mud, fog, mud, rain, and more mud? Your bones hurt and your joints ache. Your job is dull, dirty, and dangerous. Forget your wife and family, your girlfriend and your best friend, Quit your whining and get to work. Camp life stripped to it's basics. Technically it's not slavery, but words fail me. My heart goes out to these men.

    1. magarac

      You seem to have missed the mosquitoes, cause the northern forrest really wouldn´t be the same without them.
      Must be horrible to never really be dry and warm.

    2. Guest

      Yes, tree planting in rainy Hope BC in 1980. Never had a dry pair of boots on for a month. Sucked big big time even though the food upon return every late afternoon was great in the main camp warm with ambiance and music.
      I wouldn't do it these days for sure.

  12. davy11

    it skipped a couple of parts 4 me. did this happen to anyone else? think me laptop is on the blink

  13. dmxi

    ''WE make democracies !'' -george bush

  14. Abrao

    How funny how you all seem to forget about death row, Gunatanamo, Abu Graib, the abduction of people by US special forces in foreighn country's...
    O I remember now: we call our system democracy, that makes it all legal.

  15. bogdanvladimir

    i love these one man documentaries

  16. brutusaurio

    Very difficult to document something about North Korea.
    I'd like to know more about this country.
    I'm open to suggestions.

    1. dewflirt

      Hard to imagine any end to the secrecy there, seems like nobody will speak out and nobody has a reason to intervene, maybe they just don't dare. There is another doc on here but I can't remember what it's called. When you see how hungry and downtrodden they are its difficult to see how they might muster enough strength to fight for themselves. Too sad :(

    2. brutusaurio

      I've just seen a documentary titled "Welcome To North Korea". I recommend this documentary to everyone who wants to know more about this enigmatic country.

      It's true. I'd like to have listened some opinions from the north korean people. But it's tough. They live in fear. I suppose the consequences of speaking out are too high.

      The differences bewteen North Korea an South Korea are enormous.

    3. dewflirt

      That's the one I was trying to remember. Heartbreaking but worth a watch. Gives you a real sense of how they have to live, the total oppression and fear.

    4. davy11

      try the vice guide to north korea, think its on this site

  17. Irishkev

    Poor bastwrds, let down by Humanity itself.

  18. Malchik

    And here we thought the days of Auschwitz and 731 were behind us.

    Well, so we like to think, anyways. Look up Camp 22.

  19. dewflirt

    Those guys get a sniff at freedom and can't take it because their families will suffer. Still must be seriously tempting to disappear into the Woods.

    1. KooKookaChoo

      I was thinking the same thing -- but I was also wondering what was going to happen to those workers they did manage to talk to that got caught, I can't imagine it was good... an entire nation is not in fear for naught.

      But I did really enjoy this (that feels really awkward to say...) and I agree that it shows just how crazy and sad the whole thing is.

    2. dewflirt

      Let's hope they're good liars, I expect when you live a secret life in your head you get to be pretty convincing. Who knows what they go through, all I know is that it's easy enough to take your own beating, not easy to see others suffer for you. If I was them I would forever be worrying about my family. I wouldn't feel to guilty about enjoying it though, you enjoyed the presentation, you were supposed to. Spoon full of sugar ;)

  20. dewflirt

    Forgot to say, thought this was ace but can't get part 7. Watch it anyway and guess the end, you'll know where it's going ;)

  21. dewflirt

    I blame America and oil. It's always them, even when it's about North Korean labour camps in Siberia its their fault. In fact I think an American crept into my house last night and stole my olive oil.

    1. magarac

      I would even go so far as to blame bush. Wonder what the little guy is up to now? Could it possibly be logging?

    2. dewflirt

      I'll see your Bush and raise you.........ILLUMINATI!

    3. magarac

      Think we are getting close with our investigation but bet you can´t beat that...Ancient Aliens returning to build a wooden upside down pyramid.

    4. dewflirt

      On a ley line with Bohemian Grove, Glastonbury Tor, Nazca and a Wicker Man ;)

    5. magarac

      Mystery solved, and no need of going to russia. Just good old common sense.

      Guess they chose siberia cause it sort of has it´s history of labor camps. And of cause very little need of guards, cause running out into the woods would most likely kill the workers.

    6. dewflirt

      What a choice, or no choice at all. Better to live in hope than die in a forest.

    7. magarac

      A strange thing i was thinking when i saw these poor guys in the mud is that it is possible that they acctually live better in the russian forrest then back home. But who knows...
      Hail the great leader Kim Jong Un, may he live long and prosper.

    8. dewflirt

      I wonder what they talk about when they're alone, how would you go about speaking your true thoughts for the first time? Would you dare to be the first to say Kim is a ***** ? Maybe they bottle it up forever.

    9. magarac

      I was born in eastern germany and i know that people talk just as bad about their leaders as in any "free" country.
      Not in public of cause.

      I think it is wrong to assume that the people of north korea are just plain stupid. They know what is going on. And of cause they can´t see the whole picture but neither can we.

    10. dmxi

      >smirk<..........that was funny !

    11. norlavine

      Yeah believe insurgents have taken a stronghold in the Mediterranean! Looks like the USA and NATO are going in to oversee the safety of the populations living along the 'olive oil belt'.
      Seriously, I agree with this one, nothing to do with America - just nasty 'old school' men with big plans for their own posterity.x

    12. dewflirt

      Men and lubricants, they love 'em ;)

    13. adilrye

      lol who cares if the regime in question is deeply anti-American and an enemy of the United States? It's gotta be America's fault this is happening!

    14. dewflirt

      Shhhhh, this is counter intelligence! Don't blow my cover ;)

  22. dmxi

    the US can learn something here for future exploitation when martial law will be implemented !no more high security prisons entwined with high costs....what more, can a nation with massive numbers of rejects ask for ?but just keep those pesky journalists out....they have a hang to stick their noses in inhumane private buisness,which spoils the party............bohooooo!gag them & everything will be hunky-dory.oh, already have !

  23. Marion Bruns

    Amazing how you can take such a serious subject and give it such great entertainment value. Wonderful.

    1. PavolvsBitch

      well it's all entertainment to the executioners and those creating the profits from the mechanisation of humanity and the end of a jew news media lense. it's all such fun, eh for those who create and profit from it.

  24. Sayo Ko

    hmm.. this documentary was ****. I felt THIS was propaganda... I agree with the North Koreans, the US are poking their nose where it doesn't belong (as usual) They aren't invading and bombing people by the millions everyday for oil and power not to mention the US have the largest military in the world. I find the US more of a threat to the world then these guys.

    1. hhy2k

      You know that North Koreans eat American aid rice, don't you.

  25. adilrye

    I like how they take all this madness as "part" of the job lol...I would go through these lengths too to find actually North Korean civilians to talk to.

  26. Yeung Xiao

    perfect doc. funny, and sad.