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North trade firm officer defects to the South

Mar 28,2006
A North Korean employee of a state-run company defected to the South with three family members recently, sources in the Foreign Ministry confirmed yesterday, correcting some media reports that the man was a diplomat. He worked at a trading company run by the government, the ministry sources said. They gave few other details of the matter, citing its sensitivity.
The man and his family evidently walked into a South Korean diplomatic office in Hungary last week and asked for asylum. Officials are now questioning the man to determine his motives for the request.
Although asylum requests by ordinary North Koreans are not uncommon, the last notable defection of a person connected with the North Korean regime was in October 2000, when Hong Sun-kyong, a diplomat posted to Bangkok, defected with his family.


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