Thursday, January 01, 2009

North Korean refugees in Burma released

Burmese officials have released the 19 North Korean defectors from detention and indications are that they will be sent to neighboring Thailand.

An official was quoted as saying, "A court in Tachileik ordered (Wednesday) that they be expelled under the immigration act," he said, referring to an eastern Myanmar town near the Thai and Laotian border area.

The nineteen North Korean defectors were trying to make their way to South Korea by passing through China and Southeast Asia. They were detained in Burma in early December and faced charges of illegal immigration.

Thailand is widely considered one of the more politically favorable destinations for North Korean defectors hoping to reach the South.

South Korean officials have said the group will be allowed to go to South Korea.

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