Some people would lock up their outhouses to keep the poop thieves away. They moved into a small house by the train station in Hyesan, which the military had given my grandfather after he retired. There were patrols above us and below, and guard posts yards on either side of us manned by soldiers ready to shoot anyone attempting to cross the border. Without subsidised fuel and other commodities, the economy creaked to a halt. The final photo Yeonmi and her mother took of her father before his death.
And the regime realised it had no choice but to tolerate these unofficial markets.
Sexism claims as South Korean woman jailed for photo of naked man
This pirated Hollywood film gave me my first small taste of freedom. We were listening to the television news broadcast with the usual footage of Kim Jong Il inspecting troops somewhere. When you are always hungry, all you think about is food. On the cold, black night of March 31, my mother and I scrambled down the steep, rocky bank of the frozen Yalu river, which divides North Korea and China. In the earliest years of my life, before the worst of the famine that struck North Korea in the mids had gripped our city, our friends would come round and we would share the noodles with them.