defectors

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Man Who Crossed DMZ Into North Korea Believed to Be Gymnast

He is believed to have first defected from North to South last year

(Newser) - Update: The person who crossed the DMZ to enter North Korea over the weekend is a male gymnast, Seoul says. He is believed to have defected from North to South Korea last year, and on Saturday made his way back, the BBC reports. Why he did so is not clear,...

A North Korean Defector's Past Came Back to Haunt Her

Song Chun Son assumed she'd be free in the South. Not so

(Newser) - To say that Song Chun Son's life in North Korea wasn't great wouldn't be much of a stretch. She was thrown into a labor camp from 2007 to 2009 after illegally traveling to China in search of food during a famine. She later did illegal work as...

'Wailing' NK Defector Caught After 40 Days on Run

Zhu Xianjian, who had 2 years left in Chinese prison sentence before he escaped, is recaptured

(Newser) - Zhu Xianjian had his 11-year sentence slashed two times due to good behavior, but his break out of a Chinese prison last month with two years left behind bars likely just nullified his chances for an early release. The 39-year-old defector from North Korea is about to find out: He...

This Is the Largest Cuban Athlete Defection in Years

9 baseball players defect during tournament in Mexico

(Newser) - While playing in a tournament in Mexico this weekend, nine members of a Cuban baseball team defected. While Cuban athletes have a history of defecting while competing in other countries, this was the largest athlete defection in years, the BBC reports. The Cuban government confirmed the defections Sunday, calling them...

Belarus Sprinter Is Latest in a Long Line of Olympic Defectors

Dozens of Hungarians defected in 1956 after Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest

(Newser) - Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is now officially a political exile—and the latest in a long line of Olympic defectors, many of them from authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe. Unlike many of her predecessors, Tsimanouskaya didn't travel to the Olympics planning to defect, the AP reports. The 24-year-old, who...

Fleeing the Games, Sprinter Made a Last-Minute Switch

Wary of security, Belarus sprinter changed flight plans from Warsaw to Vienna at last minute

(Newser) - Change of travel plans for Krystsina Tsimanouskaya—she's headed to Vienna instead of Warsaw, at least initially. The Washington Post reports on the continuing drama swirling around the 24-year-old Olympic sprinter, who boarded a plane bound for Poland on Wednesday, less than three days after Belarus authorities took her...

Belarusian Sprinter Speaks Out
Belarusian Sprinter Speaks Out
the rundown

Belarusian Sprinter Speaks Out

'I don’t think I can ever go back to Belarus,' says Krystsina Tsimanouskaya

(Newser) - The Belarus sprinter who is refusing to go home has given her first interviews since the Olympic controversy erupted. In them, 24-year-old Krystsina Tsimanouskaya makes clear that she hopes to run in future Olympics, though not for her native country. Coverage:
  • “I don’t think I can ever go
...

North Korean Defector Used Tunnel Unknown to South

Alarms were ignored as man swam ashore, wandered for 6 hours

(Newser) - The North Korean man found in South Korea last week appeared eight times on surveillance cameras without anyone noticing, according to a report from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. Alarms sounded twice after the man came ashore around 1:05am on Feb. 16, but the soldier in charge...

Latest South Korean Embarrassment: Guy in Flippers

Possible North Korean defector reportedly swam across border, crawled through beach drain pipe

(Newser) - Soldiers came upon a North Korean man wearing a wetsuit and flippers walking down a road in South Korea on Tuesday. It was "the second embarrassing breach for the South Korean military's border security in recent months" after a North Korean defector traversed the Demilitarized Zone, reaching a...

Defector Crossed DMZ Undetected Thanks to Loose Screw

Sensors were supposed to alert South Korean guards

(Newser) - The latest defection from North Korea is a worry for South Koreans—and not because they fear an onslaught of gymnasts leaping over the border. The defector, who showed up on the South Korean side of the heavily fortified DMZ earlier this month, managed to get past a border equipped...

Mystery of How Defector Got Over DMZ Fence May Be Solved

North Korean man tells South Korean officials he's a gymnast who simply jumped over it

(Newser) - The North Korean man who arrived in South Korea this month claims to be a former gymnast, and it makes sense, as he apparently propelled himself over a 10-foot-tall barbed wire fence during his trip across the Demilitarized Zone . The man, said to be in his late 20s, reportedly spent...

North Korean Crosses DMZ, Asks to Defect: Report

Man in plainclothes began crossing 2.5-mile-wide zone on Tuesday

(Newser) - South Korea has detained a North Korean man who showed up on its side of the heavily fortified border separating the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday. The suspected defector in plainclothes was first observed crossing barbed wire fences in the eastern section of the 2.5-mile-wide, 155-mile-long Demilitarized Zone around 7:...

Iranian Olympic Medalist Defects, Cites Oppression
Olympian Defects From Iran

Olympian Defects From Iran

'Whatever they said, I wore,' says Kimia Alizadeh, the nation's only female medalist

(Newser) - Iran's only female Olympic medalist said she defected from the Islamic Republic in a blistering online letter in which she described herself as "one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran." Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh posted the letter on Instagram, the AP reports, as Iran's...

She Fled North Korea, but Her Death Has Rattled South Korea

Han Sung-ok and her son are believed to have starved to death in Seoul

(Newser) - The deaths of a North Korean defector and her young son in South Korea have delivered a jolt to residents of Seoul because of the bitter irony: Han Sung-ok fled famine in her own country and is believed to have starved to death in her adopted one, reports the New ...

It Was Close to Midnight Near the DMZ. Then, a Rare Sight

North Korean soldier picked up by South Korean troops after being spotted by thermal imaging

(Newser) - Although it's common for North Koreans to try to make a run for the South, what's not as common are defections across the Demilitarized Zone, which is littered with guards, landmines, barbed wire, and other barriers. But that's apparently what a North Korean soldier did this week,...

Soldiers Shot a Friend Running for the Border. But He Gets It

'I would have done the same thing,' says North Korean defector Oh Chong Song

(Newser) - A North Korean defector says he understands why his fellow soldiers shot him as he made a run for the border in 2017 after smashing his vehicle through a military checkpoint. Friendship isn't the issue, he said. It was their job. "If I were in their shoes, I...

North Korea's Ambassador to Italy May Have Defected

Jo Song Gil has applied for asylum in a Western country: reports

(Newser) - North Korea may have a high-profile defection on its hands. The country’s acting ambassador to Italy, Jo Song Gil, apparently fled the North Korean embassy in Rome with his wife weeks ago, before he was to leave his post at the end of November. That's according to South...

1K N. Korean Defectors Just Got Hacked

Names, addresses of people living in South were taken

(Newser) - South Korea says it is responding to a hacking attack that stole the names and addresses of nearly 1,000 North Korean defectors who resettled in the South. A regional office of the Hana resettlement center said Friday that it has been notifying affected defectors after discovering last week that...

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,...

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...

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