Friday, August 29, 2008

Spy arrest worries genuine North Korean refugees

The arrest of a North Korean woman who posed as a defector to the South in order to spy for Pyongyang has made defectors and officials with North Korean refugee organizations uneasy.

Many North Korean refugees are concerned. South Korean distrust of North Korean refugees living here is likely to grow. Currently, some 14,000 refugees live in the South.

Lee Hae-Young, secretary general of the Association of the North Korean Defectors, said, "The most difficult problem facing North Korean refugees in South Korea is how to find jobs. In the wake of the spy case, we're worried that South Koreans will lose all trust in the refugees.” He added most refugees are “victims of the Kim Jong-il regime's tyranny. It's wrong to blame the entire community of North Korean refugees just because of some North Korean agents.”

Cha Sung-joo, secretary general of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea, said, "North Korea's Ministry of Public Security and the State Security Department control North Korean society by instigating a sense of fear. It turns one of every three North Korean residents into a spy and makes people afraid to speak even with their friends.”

[Chosun Ilbo]

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