A man who is believed to be a previous defector from North Korea reportedly went across the South Korean border in order to return to the North over the weekend.
The Wall Street Journal reported that late on Saturday, “the man climbed a tall barbed-wire fence along the inter-Korean eastern border, navigated the heavily fortified Korean demilitarized zone and entered North Korea at 10:40 p.m., Seoul’s military said. South Korea’s military first detected the man hours after he had already entered the DMZ and failed to stop him from fleeing to the North.”
CNN reported, “In a statement Monday, the Defense Ministry said based on CCTV footage they presumed the man who made the rare crossing to the North on Sunday had first entered the South in November 2020. Relevant authorities were still verifying the facts, the ministry added.”
There was reportedly no proof that the man had been a North Korean spy, Seoul’s military noted on Monday. “He worked as a cleaner and was likely struggling financially, it added,” per the Journal.
The Journal added:
Seoul had sent a weekend message to Pyongyang seeking to ensure the safety of the border-crossing man. On Monday, North Korea acknowledged having received the message but didn’t give a response on the status of the defector, Seoul’s military said. The Kim regime’s borders have remained sealed off throughout the pandemic over Covid-19 fears.
CNN further reported that South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said on Monday, “We sent a notice to North Korea to protect our people yesterday and there has been no response from North Korea.”
There were “no unusual movements of the North Korean military” related to the occurrence on Sunday, he added.
There have been past instances where defectors go back to North Korea after defecting to the south, however, “[j]ust 30 North Korean defectors have gone back to North Korea between 2012 and 2020, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry,” per the Journal.
The Journal also reported that “[n]early one of every five defectors have thought of returning to North Korea, mainly due to missing their hometown and family, according to a 2021 survey of more than 400 defectors by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, a Seoul-based nonprofit organization.”
The North Korean regime is known for being incredibly restrictive and abusive toward its citizens, placing the power of dictators past and present over their wellbeing.
Last month, The Daily Wire reported that “North Korea has banned its citizens from laughing, consuming alcohol, or taking part in any leisure activities during a ‘mourning period’ commemorating the 10-year anniversary of former dictator Kim Jong Il’s death.”
“The New York Post reported that the ban is in effect for 11 days and that on December 17, the anniversary of Kim’s death, citizens are banned from even grocery shopping,” The Daily Wire noted.
“In the past many people who were caught drinking or being intoxicated during the mourning period were arrested and treated as ideological criminals. They were taken away and never seen again,” a source told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service.
“Even if your family member dies during the mourning period, you are not allowed to cry out loud and the body must be taken out after it’s over. People cannot even celebrate their own birthdays if they fall within the mourning period,” the source added.
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