2 more defectors boomerang back to North

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2 more defectors boomerang back to North


The government confirmed the identities of two North Korean defectors who returned home and denounced life in the capitalist South, calling it “a dark society.”

On Monday, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency introduced the two men who defected to the South and then changed their minds.

The report said the two men had discussions with other citizens at a local community center called the Koryo Hall of Compatriots in Pyongyang.

KCNA identified the men as Pak Jin-kun, 49, and Jang Kwang-chol, 33. Pak said he defected to the South in October 2011, and Jang said he went in March 2012. Both said they returned home in the last few months.

They claimed they were kidnapped by human traffickers in the first place and that South Korea is “a dark society” where discrimination drives many defectors to commit suicide.

“We confirmed they both settled down in the South and returned to the North,” a Ministry of Unification official told reporters yesterday. “Although we can’t divulge too many details, Jang had a family here in the South, his parents and siblings, living in Suwon. Pak lived in Gyeongju city, North Gyeongsang. We have no information on their jobs.”

The official added that police are investigating when and why they returned to the North, particularly why they stayed in the South for a relatively short period.

According to the Unification Ministry, a total of 12 defectors have returned to the North, including Pak and Jang.

Of those 12 double defectors, two defected to the South a second time, becoming triple defectors. Kim Kwang-ho and Kim Ok-sil escaped to the South in August 2009 and obtained Southern nationality. The wife gave birth to a daughter in the South.

In December 2012 the couple secretly returned to the North with their 10-month-old daughter, apparently via China, and appeared at a press conference aired by North Korea’s state-controlled Korean Central Television in January 2013.

Last July, the Kim family fled a second time along with two siblings of Kim’s wife. But Chinese border security guards caught them during their journey.

China sent the couple and their daughter to South Korea because all three had South Korean nationality. But it sent the two siblings of the wife back to North Korea.

The couple returned to South Korea in August, but the husband has been indicted under detention on charges of praising the North Korean state.


BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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