There are many ways to speed up a construction job, but project managers in North Korea are reportedly turning to a dangerous method to get workers to build faster. An inside source told Radio Free Asia that construction workers building a skyscraper in the capital city of Pyongyang are being fed crystal meth so they can work faster. In a country already well-known for severe human rights violations, this is devastating news.
The builders in question are working on a 70-story building in the heart of North Korea’s capital city, which is just one part of a 60-building development on Pyongyang’s Ryomyung Street. Reportedly, there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers on the job site, although the anonymous source didn’t specify how widespread the drug use might be. “Project managers are now openly providing drugs to construction workers so that they will work faster,” the source told Radio Free Asia. “Project managers at a building site in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang are openly supplying their exhausted workforce with powerful methamphetamine called ‘ice’. [They] are undergoing terrible sufferings in their work.”
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Pressure to make swift progress on the ambitious building project has been mounting, following North Korea’s announcement about ushering in a “great golden age of construction.” Yet, several of leader Kim Jong-un’s big pet projects, including the long-awaited Ryugyong Hotel, are years behind schedule. Rumors about meth distribution by project managers are backed up by graffiti found on the building site, which reportedly reads, “Pyongyang speed is drug speed,” alluding to the connection between drug use and the speed of construction. Even people who never saw an episode of Breaking Bad know that crystal meth is a dangerous drug, and regular use can lead to heart attack, brain damage, and psychoses. And one can only imagine how structurally sound a building might be after being erected by a bunch of drugged out construction workers.
Images via Aram Pan