South Korea: Defectors From North Get $860K

Quadruples the amount offered to people with information
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2017 9:15 AM CST
North Korean defectors prepare to release balloons carrying leaflets and a banner condemning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a rally denouncing North Korea's latest nuclear test, in Paju, near...   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(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," per Yonhap. The new total: A hefty $860,000, reports the BBC. It's not exactly easy money, though: Defectors run risks including getting caught and sent home, and most often end up paying people smugglers exorbitant sums to get them to safety. This is the first such increase in two decades; the Guardian notes that the current sum is about $217,000. "One of the biggest reasons why North Koreans are hesitant about defecting is because they are fearful of [how they would make a living] after they come to South Korea," a unification ministry official tells Yonhap. (Read more defectors stories.)

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