Saturday, July 07, 2007

North Korean defects ― three times

Cigarettes, a used bicycle and cash. Those were some of the things a North Korean defector used to bribe border guards as he went back and forth three times between his homeland and South Korea, the National Intelligence Service said yesterday.

The last time, the man brought North Korean neighbors with him. They couldn’t keep their story straight, and that led to him getting caught, the agency said. The 30-year-old North Korean defector, who was not identified, was arrested yesterday on charges of having the secret visits, which violated the National Security Law. The arrest carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

The man escaped North Korea in September 2003 by crossing into China through the Tumen River. He met with his mother and an older sister, who had earlier defected to China, and the three all came to South Korea via Mongolia.

The South Korean government gave the man an apartment and 30 million won ($33,000) to assist his settlement after he finished the government’s training program in February 2004.

[Excerpt of an article by Ser Myo-ja, JoongAng Daily]


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