defectors

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Kim Executed Uncle Because of Grudge Over His Mom: Book

More family secrets in defector's memoir, including a Clapton concert attended by Kim's brother

(Newser) - Long-held grudges, executions, an Eric Clapton concert—it's all there in a new 542-page memoir by a man the Wall Street Journal calls "North Korea's most high-profile defector in two decades." The New York Times reports on Thae Yong Ho's Cryptography From the Third-Floor Secretariat,... More »

Expelled Russia Diplomats May Have Tracked Defectors

Including one given a new identity under a CIA program, CNN reports

(Newser) - Some of the 60 Russian diplomats recently expelled from the US were suspected of spying on Russian defectors, including at least one person who was given a new identity under a CIA program, CNN reports, citing officials briefed on the matter. The diplomats were expelled in response to the nerve... More »

The Defectors Made It Into China, Then They Were Gone

Ms. Choi wanted to get her sister out of North Korea

(Newser) - Some 30,000 North Korean defectors have made it all the way to South Korea, and their ranks are growing more slowly than they once did. In 2017, the South gained 1,127 defectors, a number that tended to be closer to 3,500 before Kim Jong Un took... More »

N. Korean Defector's Crutches a Reminder of Hellish Ordeal

Ji Seong Ho was a guest at Trump's SOTU address

(Newser) - During President Trump's State of the Union address, Ji Seong Ho waved his crutches. Those crutches have borne witness to an incredibly journey. The New York Times has Ji's story, which it dubs "remarkable even by the standards of North Korean defectors." It begins in 1996... More »

S. Korea Makes Sure North's Soldiers Hear About Defection

Military blasts the news over loudspeakers at the border

(Newser) - South Korea is making sure that North Korean soldiers at the border hear all about the defection of their fellow soldier. The South has been broadcasting news of the defection over loudspeakers installed near the DMZ, reports the Yonhap News Agency . On Sunday, for example, the loudspeakers spread the news... More »

Female Defector Describes Harsh Life in N. Korean Army

Lee So Yeon says conditions were so tough women stopped having their periods

(Newser) - Lee So Yeon volunteered to join the North Korea army in 1992, lured in part, she says, by the promise of a daily meal. While cautioning that stories of defectors like Lee have to be taken with a grain of salt, the BBC presents an interview with the now 41-year-old... More »

North Korea Makes Changes at Border After Defection

Soldiers dig a trench, plant trees

(Newser) - North Korea is trying to make sure that no others will be able to defect the way that a young soldier did last week . The fixes aren't exactly high-tech: North Korean soldiers were seen digging a big trench in the border area where the soldier first drove and then... More »

Dramatic Footage of Defector's Escape Released

North Korean soldier runs for his life as former comrades open fire

(Newser) - Dramatic video of a North Korean soldier defecting across the DMZ last week reveals just how narrow the man's escape was. The soldier can be seen fleeing in a military vehicle, which races toward the border down empty roads. The defector is seen abandoning the vehicle after it... More »

North Korean Defector Wakes, Asks to Watch TV

Wounded soldier regains consciousness, is expected to survive

(Newser) - The North Korean soldier who endured a volley of bullets from his former comrades as he crossed the border into South Korea has regained consciousness and is expected to survive, reports the BBC . In fact, the soldier asked to watch South Korean television upon waking and is now recuperating in... More »

North Korean Defector Is Ravaged by Parasites

Doctors say he's filled with them, hinting at poor diet and worse health

(Newser) - As if multiple bullet wounds weren't enough, the North Korean soldier who defected across the DMZ on Monday has "an enormous number" of parasites posing a risk to his recovery, according to South Korean doctors. "I've never seen anything like this," surgeon Lee Cook-jong says,... More »

North Korean Defector Had to Run After Issue With Jeep's Wheel

He was shot at least 5 times

(Newser) - A North Korean soldier fired on by his former comrades during a desperate attempt to defect across the DMZ on Monday was shot at least five times but is expected to survive, South Korean authorities say. Officials say the soldier drove a jeep toward the Joint Security Area—the only... More »

As He Ran Across the DMZ, His Fellow Soldiers Shot Him

Incident happened Monday in the Joint Security Area in the DMZ

(Newser) - If it sounds like an unusual event, that's because it is: A North Korea solider was shot and wounded in the demilitarized zone Monday afternoon while trying to defect to the South. The bullets came via "his former comrades," as CNN puts it, and struck him in... More »

Last Surviving US Defector to North Korea Is Dead

James Dresnok crossed border after fighting in Korean War

(Newser) - He might have been the most famous American in North Korea. But now James "Joe" Dresnok, a US soldier who defected after fighting in the Korean War, is dead, reports the Guardian . His two Korean-born sons made the news public in a government video, saying their father had suffered... More »

Celebrity Defector Reappears in N. Korea

South suspects she was kidnapped

(Newser) - A defector from North Korea who became a well-known TV personality in South Korea has reappeared in the North—and not everyone is convinced that her claims to be happy there after a hellish existence in the South are genuine. In a propaganda video released by Pyongyang on Sunday, Lim... More »

South Korea: Defectors From North Get $860K

Quadruples the amount offered to people with information

(Newser) - As if leaving behind a murderous authoritarian regime weren't reward enough, South Korea is sweetening the pot for would-be defectors from the north: Seoul announced it will quadruple the reward for North Koreans who come bearing any "intelligence and knowledge that can enhance South Korea’s security,"... More »

Kim Jong Un Reportedly Hit By More Defections

Gov't says asylum seekers haven't contacted Japan

(Newser) - One or two officials may have followed the lead of a diplomat in London and defected from North Korea. A Health Ministry official stationed at North Korea's embassy in Beijing—tasked with sourcing medical supplies for a clinic visited by Kim Jong Un and his family—has reportedly sought... More »

North Korea Suffers 'Highest-Ranking' Defection

Thae Yong Ho has defected to South Korea

(Newser) - A North Korean diplomat stationed in London vanished in mid-July, and Seoul is now explaining why: Thae Yong Ho has defected to South Korea, in what the BBC reports could be the "highest-ranking" defection North Korea has experienced. The New York Times calls Thae the "No. 2" official... More »

For 18 Years, an Ordinary Korean Couple Have Kept a Big Secret

Ko Yong Suk tells the 'Washington Post' she is Kim Jong Un's aunt

(Newser) - For 18 years, a North Korean couple have lived a life in America that their friends call "lucky"—they run a dry-cleaning business and have three successful children. But these are no ordinary immigrants. For the first time, Ko Yong Suk and husband Ri Gang are revealing their... More »

Alleged American ISIS Fighter: I Followed a Girl

Mohamad Jamal Khweis says he made a 'bad decision'

(Newser) - The accused ISIS defector from Virginia says he made a "bad decision" and now regrets his actions. In an interview with K24 TV , Mohamad Jamal Khweis, 26, says he left the US in December, visited London and Amsterdam, then arrived in Turkey, where he met a woman from Mosul,... More »

American ISIS Defector Reportedly Detained

Kurdish forces questioning Virginia man, 27, in Iraq

(Newser) - A Virginia man who reportedly went overseas to fight with the Islamic State has been detained in Iraq, according to Kurdish reports cited by CBS News . The US embassy in Baghdad is trying to confirm that the man identified as 27-year-old Muhammad Jamal Amin showed up at a checkpoint near... More »

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