North sends back man who defected from South

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North sends back man who defected from South

The Unification Ministry said yesterday that it had repatriated a South Korean defector to the North after the regime sent him back.

The 52-year-old was brought back through the truce village of Panmunjeom at the inter-Korean border, the ministry said. The man, only identified by his surname Kim, arrived in South Korea at 11:05 a.m. yesterday.

After a health checkup, law enforcement authorities will question him about how he ended up in the Communist state, said Lim Byeong-cheol, the ministry spokesman.

The state-run Korea Central News Agency reported last week that North Korea’s Red Cross had informed Seoul that a South Korean from Anseong, Gyeonggi, had illegally entered the North via a third country. The report quoted the Red Cross’s message to the South stating that Pyongyang would send him back.

The North Korean report said that Kim illegally entered the North, where he was captured by authorities. The man’s actions were motivated by economic hardship in the South, the state media said.

“Kim admitted to his illegal entry and made an appeal that his wife and children in the South be brought to the North so they could live together, but we persuaded him and decided to send him back to the South,” the report said.

Entering North Korea without permission from the South Korean government is a crime punishable by a prison term.

Article 6 of the National Security Act states, “Any person who has infiltrated or escaped to an area under the control of an anti-government organization with the knowledge of fact that it may endanger the existence and security of the State or democratic fundamental order, shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than 10 years.”

This isn’t the first time South Korean defectors to the North were repatriated. The North repatriated six South Korean defectors in October.

Following questioning, the South Korean government indicted them on charges of violating the National Security Act.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joonang.co.kr]















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