Tuesday, January 20, 2004

a great new way to give NK money!

Gamble on their website!

The online bulletin board of an inter-Korean venture based in North Korea has become wildly popular with South Korean Internet users.

The site in question is a free board open to all users at www.jupae.com, a gambling site operated by North Koreans using South Korean technology and capital.

More than 14,000 messages have been posted on the bulletin board since May 2002, two months after the launch of the main site.

Most of them are written by South Koreans, excited by the fact that they can communicate with North Koreans online.

"Can you please tell us your MSN messenger address? I want to chat with a North Korean," wrote one user identified as Hanmoonki.

A site administrator replied offering their address and wishing the user a nice day.

These kind of replies from administrators, who work in shifts 24 hours a day to answer questions even unrelated to their business, are another reason for the site's popularity.

"Do you think China is justified in claiming Koguryo as part of their history?" a user identified as Diadol asked.

"Of course not. For your reference on our position on the issue, look up at this past article at www.kcna.co.jp," an administrator answered.

Some 10 North Korean women, recent college graduates, manage the bulletin board from their office in Pyongyang, according to Kim Bum-hoon, president of Hoonnet, the South Korean company which set up the site jointly with the North.

Well... for all you Korean-literate folks who've been longing to say something directly to the North Koreans, here's your big chance.

But beware-- there's trouble in paradise:

However, the site faces closure with South Korea's Unification Ministry set to revoke Hoonnet's license to do business in North Korea.

Ministry officials said this is because the company never got the approval from the government to run a gambling site, with its original plan confined to developing computer software.

Uh... oops.

Hoonnet maintains that the Unification Ministry knew of its plans to open the gambling site beforehand, and is petitioning to keep the site open for the sake of inter-Korean relations.

Articles by Internet users hoping to keep the communication channel with North Koreans are flooding the site.

Here's an idea: introduce North Korean Netizens to The Sims, then see how they handle those roving Sims gangs.

Lovely. I'm off to bed.


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