Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Half of North Korean refugees in Thailand hope to go to US

More than half of the North Korean defectors currently detained in Thailand wish to go the United States for asylum, a South Korean pastor helping them said Sunday."

At present, 101 North Koreans are in a Thai refugee camp nearby Bangkok, and 175 others are in a prison. They underwent or are waiting for interviews with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)," Yoo Chung-jong, who inspected the facilities last week, told Yonhap News Agency.

Late last month, 175 North Koreans hiding at a house with the help of South Korean missionaries were arrested by Thai police.

The pastor, who is active in the U.S., claimed that he had confirmed from ranking U.S. officials that their government is ready to accept North Korean defectors according to the North Korean Human Rights Act whatever their numbers are.

Meanwhile, six North Korean defectors and a South Korean activist, Kim Hee-tae, were arrested Friday by police in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, Kim's confidant, only identified by his family name Bang, said Sunday.

[Yonhap News]

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