중앙데일리

Oppressive regime’s ID cards pave path to liberty

Sept 22,2007
A North Korean refugee’s identification card issued in France. By Jeon Jin-bae
PARIS ― North Korean resident identification cards have become a hot item on the black market in China for ethnic Koreans who want to live in Europe.
Mr. Kim, an ethnic Korean man from China, moved to Paris last year and obtained a resident permit from the French government a few months ago allowing him to stay in the country for 10 years. He asked not to be identified by his full name, because he obtained his permit illegally.
His resident permit states that he is a North Korean refugee and identifies him as a North Korean citizen, not a Chinese national. Kim said he purchased a North Korean resident’s ID card and pretended to be a refugee from China when he sought asylum in France.
Kim said he is not alone. “At least 100 people have sought refugee status in the last year using the same means,” he said.
According to other ethnic Koreans in China, North Korean IDs were traded in cities near the China-North Korea border, such as Yanbian and Dandong. The prices range between 1,000 yuan and 1,500 yuan ($134 to $199), they said.
“As far as I know, there are many North Koreans who want to sell their IDs,” said an ethnic Korean who lives in China.
North Koreans who manage to escape to China are anxious to sell their IDs, because they are afraid of being captured, identified as North Korean and then send back to their homeland.
According to sources, ethnic Koreans who want to live in Europe prearrange their trips through middlemen who transport them through China’s Shenzhen Province to Hong Kong.
From there they fly to Thailand and meet with South Korean middlemen who provide fake South Korean passports.
Using these documents, the ethnic Koreans will often fly to Switzerland and then move to the country of their destination, often France or Italy, via overland routes.
Reaching Europe is seen as being more than half way to success, sources said, because the process of seeking refugee status is relatively simple.
In France, immigrants only have to submit an application along with a North Korean ID card to qualify. The French government then provides a temporary three-month residence permit, which is extended until a final decision is made.
Four months after applying for refugee status an interview will take place. A French official who speaks Korean will question the applicant, but most ethnic Koreans are well prepared to pass this simple screening, the sources said.
Europe is a popular destination because it only costs 10,000 euros for a Korean-Chinese to buy refugee status and various organizations often provide them with extra protection and assistance.


By Jeon Jin-bae JoongAng Ilbo



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장