Kaesong bus crash kills 10 workers

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Kaesong bus crash kills 10 workers

Ten North Korean workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex are estimated to have died when two buses collided at an intersection last Friday, Paju police officials said yesterday, citing South Koreans working at the complex.

Around three dozen North Koreans were estimated to have been wounded in the accident, police said. There were no South Korean casualties, they said.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said Pyongyang did not notify it of the accident. If confirmed, it is the deadliest incident to occur at Kaesong since the two Koreas opened the industrial complex in 2005 as an emblem of an inter-Korean partnership.

Paju Police officials estimated that the accident happened at 7:40 p.m. on July 2 when two buses - one carrying commuters to work and the other carrying commuters out of the complex - collided. It was heavily raining at the time, police said.

Police said six North Koreans are presumed to have died on the spot and four others died the next day in the hospital. A total of 36 people were injured, they said.

Lee Jong-joo, vice spokesperson for the Unification Ministry, said in a media briefing yesterday that the ministry only knows that there was a bus collision at Kaesong on that day with no South Korean casualties, which it learned from South Korean managers of the industrial complex.

“We don’t know the number of people killed or injured [in the accident],” said Lee. “We can only estimate that there could have been some North Koreans injured.”

According to the ministry, around 45,000 North Korean workers were registered with 121 South Korean manufacturers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex as of yesterday. They use buses to commute, leased from South Korea but driven by North Koreans, it said.

Around 500 South Koreans, mostly at manager level, are working at Kaesong, but most commute daily from the South. Others reside in dorms in the complex.


By Moon Gwang-lip, Jeon Ik-jin [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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