Refugees who risked their lives fleeing repression, famine and the threat of torture in North Korea may now be pursued by authorities from another country: South Korea.
Authorities in Seoul have warned they may punish North Korean refugees who pocketed money meant to help them settle in the south and then sought asylum overseas.
The issue of whether to punish North Korean refugees who turn their backs on South Korea highlights the various difficulties refugees face when they try to build new lives in the south. One of the biggest problems is finding jobs, and it could worsen as economic growth slows.
Says Lee In Hee, a spokeswoman at online recruiting site Career. "It's very difficult for companies to hire defectors when they obviously lag behind South Koreans in their ability."