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North Korea's First Web Site a Gamble

29 March 2002

NORTH KOREA – As reported by CNN: " Welcome to, purportedly the first Web site operated out of North Korea.

"The site is the brainchild of South Korean entrepreneur, Kim Beom-Hoon, who says he convinced Pyongyang that perhaps the best way to create a buzz in the isolationist country is to host a people's lottery -- one where winners from around the world can receive 100 percent of the pot.

"`Most of those who buy the lotto are poor people, but winners only get 30 percent of the jackpot. So I explained that, since there is no tax in North Korea, we could develop lotto on-line and serve the people of the world,' Kim said.

"Lotto backers say they will make money from bank interest.

"…Betters may put in one to ten U.S. dollars each time, charged online against their credit cards.

"…Kim says making money is not Pyongyang's over-riding goal.

"`They want partnerships. They want North and South Korean engineers to work together. And if the project is for the people, they are willing to do it.'

"The entrepreneurs also hope to sell North Korean goods and promote tourism through the Net.

"…In recent years, North Korea has opened diplomatic ties with a series of European and other countries and called for more foreign trade while guarding its totalitarian regime from outside criticism."

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