Dozens of North Korean defectors were arrested Tuesday in Thailand after entering the country illegally to seek refuge from their impoverished homeland.
Chun Ki-won, director of the Durihana Mission group that helps North Korean defectors, said 86 refugees were arrested in Bangkok, following the detentions of 10 people there Friday. Ten additional people were picked up Friday, but they had already registered as refugees and were released. Another four defectors eluded capture, Chun said.
The defectors had been sheltered in Thailand with the aid of South Korean missionaries, Chun told The Associated Press from Washington.
Before the latest arrests, about 200 North Korean refugees had already been in custody in Thailand, Chun said. In August, Thai authorities arrested 175 North Korean refugees in Bangkok for illegal entry, the largest known such detention.
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