Defector flees INTO North Korea from the South in rare case of intruder fleeing over the heavily guarded border to communist country
- South Korean troops spotted an unidentified person cut through a DMZ fence
- The crossing is a rare example of someone crossing the DMZ to get to the North
- The person took an hour to traverse the heavily guarded border and defect
Thousands have risked snipers’ bullets to flee from brutal communist state North Korea to South Korea – now someone has defected in the opposite direction.
Troops from South Korea spotted an unidentified person cut through a barbed wire fence at the border to enter the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries on Saturday.
The person took around an hour to make the perilous journey across an area bristling with land mines, electric and barbed-wire fencing, cameras and armed guards.
South Korean army commanders said: ‘We’ve confirmed that the person crossed the Military Demarcation Line border and defected to the North.’
The person took around an hour to make the perilous journey across an area bristling with land mines, electric and barbed-wire fencing, cameras and armed guards
More than 200 people a year used to defect from North to South Korea but the number has dwindled during the pandemic.
South Korea sent a message to North Korea on Sunday morning to ensure the safety of the person, but the North hasn’t responded, the officers said requesting anonymity citing department rules.
It was unclear if this was a rare case of a South Korean hoping to defect to the North, or it could be a North Korean who briefly entered the South Korean territory for some reason before returning to the North.
In September 2020, North Korea fatally shot a South Korean fisheries official found floating in its waters along a poorly marked sea boundary.
North Korea has announced it had decided to place top priority on strict Covid restrictions at a high-profile ruling party meeting last week
South Korea said that North Korea troops were under orders to shoot anyone illegally crossing the border to protect against the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in 2020, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un placed a border city under total lockdown after a North Korean defector with COVID-19-like symptoms sneaked back home. The fate of that defector, who had lived in South Korea, is not known.
On Saturday, North Korea announced it had decided to place top priority on strict virus restrictions at a high-profile ruling party meeting last week.
The two Koreas are split along the world’s most heavily armed border, called the Demilitarized Zone. An estimated 2 million mines are peppered inside and near the 248-kilometer (155-mile) -long, 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) -wide DMZ, which is also guarded by barbed wire fences, tank traps and combat troops on both sides.