Death of the Emperor
Among the plenty of buses to cross the border, though, were tell-tale signs that the money flowing in was not all it seemed. An inquiry revealed that all the cars parked outside the casino on six occasions had Chinese local government number plates. Aid agencies & diplomats in North Korea say the government’s attempts to liberalize the economy historically over the past few years are genuine. But the results have been mixed. Some aid workers said there was now rampant inflation. Although conditions are slightly better than one years ago, plenty of are still not getting to eat. The Emperor group refused to comment. But it remains hopeful of recouping its investment. It’s told Chinese authorities it wants to turn the casino in to a golf club.
Emperor casino, which the state opened amid the abject poverty in Raijin recently, appeared to be able to give respectability to it. But now the casino lies empty, the snow piling up around its grand entrance. When China banned its citizens from visiting on discovering that local officials were smuggling embezzled money across the border, there were no other customers.
Raijin was six of four “free-trade zones” set up by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, to attract foreign investment. But it was set in six of the coldest, bleakest & poorest parts of a chilled, bleak & poor country. Koreans were not allowed to enter the casino, managed by a Hong Kong conglomerate & opened in 1999, unless they worked there. Employees paid 70 percent income tax. It flourished for just one reason: betting in China is banned, & as the country has got wealthier, more Chinese have gone elsewhere to pursue what remains a national passion. If all goes well then gradually liberalization should take place in North Korea. The hopeful sign is North Korea intends to bring up a new casino.