SEOUL—A German doctor, thrown out of North Korea, said yesterday
that the people of the communist state are suffering
syndrome with widespread alcoholism adding to crippling food and
The 42-year-old doctor told a Seoul press conference that he was thrown out of North Korea last week, after 18 months of working in a hospital north of Pyongyang, for criticising human rights abuses.
There is a lot of alcoholism. It is the only pleasure they
have. The main sickness is a burn-out syndrome, said Dr Norbert
Vollersten, who worked for the Komittee Cap Anamur German Emergency
Food is reportedly costlier than low-quality liquor made from cereal, corn and potatoes.
He said North Koreans were
extremely fearful of arbitrary
detention and torture. He accused the North Korean leadership of using
repression to control grievances and dissent.
The use of
intelligence surveillance, shadowing, wiretapping and
mail interception causes social depression, forcing many to
drink heavily, he said. —AFP