Celebrity Defector Reappears in N. Korea

South suspects she was kidnapped
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2017 7:47 AM CDT
Celebrity Defector Reappears in N. Korea
"Every single day of my life in the South was a hell."   (YouTube)

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 Ji Hyun says she was lured away from her homeland by visions of making money and returned to the North voluntarily, the BBC reports. "Every single day of my life in the South was a hell," the 26-year-old, who defected in 2014, says in the video. "When I was alone in a dark, cold room, I was heartbroken and I wept every day." Lim disappeared in April and this is the first that has been heard from her since.

Lim, like dozens of other young defectors, had achieved modest success on TV, where she sometimes discussed life in the North, the New York Times reports. It's not clear how she returned to the North. South Korean officials—as well as many of her fans—suspect she might have been kidnapped by North Korea, possibly after having been lured to the country's border with China. In the video, she says she had been coerced into criticizing the North on South Korean TV—and issues a warning to people in the North thinking of defecting. "In the South, where money ruled, there was only physical and psychological pain waiting for people like me who had betrayed their fatherland and fled," she says. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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