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Pie Contraband Flourishes in North Korea

Darth Vader

Up until recently, employees in North Korea were given chocolate pies for working overtime, but they are now banned since a black market arose for the delicious treats.

The chocolate pies are actually 2 sponge cake layer slices stuck together with cream. On top they are generously coated with chocolate.

You might find it odd, but plain biscuits are one of the main products in the contraband industry between South and North Korea.

Since 2004, North Korean citizens have been able to work in the Kaesong Industrial Region, which is located 6 miles (10 km) from the demilitarized zone. According to the rules however, all employees working there don't have the right to receive any monetary bonuses for overtime.

Monetary incentives for long work hours were replaced with food products and more specifically, with appetizing chocolate pies. The tasty chocolate temptations became a real hit among the workers - they realized that the dessert was too expensive to be eaten. And that is why they decided to sell them on the black market in Pyongyang - the chocolate pies were put up for very high prices.

In Seoul, they sold for about $.50, while in Pyongyang their price reached up to $10.

Even though this may sound comical and even as a provocation or something made up by South Korea, it is quite real. All of this is documented in various US media - the Washington Post newspaper, BBC channel and others.

Last year, when the Kaesong Industrial Region closed for a few months due to the serious tensions between North and South Korea, the price of one of these delicious chocolate desserts skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, the chocolate products were banned in North Korea, claim workers in an interview for the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo. The workers in the industrial region can no longer receive pies as compensation but their extra work hours will be rewarded in another way. The pies were replaced with coffee, chocolate and sausages.



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