Defector arrested attempting to cross border back into North Korea

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Defector arrested attempting to cross border back into North Korea

A defector was arrested for attempting to cross back into North Korea through a border military unit in Cheorwon County in Gangwon earlier in the week, South Korean police said Sunday.  
 
The man in his 30s was caught entering the South Korean Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s tank battalion training field in Cheorwon at around 9 a.m. Thursday in an attempt to cross the inter-Korean border.  
 
He had four mobile phones and a wire cutter in his possession at the time he was caught by soldiers. The man was not able to properly explain why he had entered the unit when he was initially caught, according to military officials at the time.  
 
The Army turned the man over to police because he was a civilian.
 
Police said that the man was taken into custody and is currently undergoing investigation for violating the National Security Law by trying to cross to the North without authorization.  
 
The man, originally from the North Korean army, defected to the South in 2018 and has resided in Seoul since then.
 
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency will question him to find out why he tried to return to the North and the details of how he was planning to cross the border before turning him over the prosecutors.
 
In July, North Korean state media reported that a defector suspected of having coronavirus symptoms crossed the military demarcation line to return to his home country.
 
The Unification Ministry confirmed in late July that 11 North Korean defectors had returned to their homeland in the past three years: three in 2015, four in 2016 and four in 2017. This figure didn’t include the latest defectors who returned to the North.  
 
BY SARAH KIM   [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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