North Koreans are paying bribes to become taxi drivers, Washington-based Radio Free Asia said Monday.
RFA reported that driving taxi is one of the most sought-after jobs now in the reclusive regime pinched under global financial sanctions, as the job brings in foreign currency and provides privileged working condition.
The media quoted a North Korean informant who was available for an interview during a brief trip to China, that taxi passengers in North Korea often pay in U.S. dollars or Chinese yuan, both currencies valued higher than the local money.
When paid in the local currency, the taxi fee is calculated at the black market exchange rate of 8,500 won per dollar.
North Korean taxis charge $2 per 2 kilometers and charge 50 cents more for each additional kilometer.
The drivers are obliged to hand in a fixed daily fee to state-run taxi operator firms, but can keep the rest for themselves.
They also get to work in the shaded vehicle while the majority of others toil under the sun.
According to the informant, due to these advantages, taxi drivers are receiving as much envy from the people as the dictatorial regime’s Party members.
Because taxi drivers are hired arbitrarily without an official notice through the nation’s labor department, abuse of personal connections and bribery abounds in acquiring the job, he said.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)