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China set to repatriate 33 North Korean defectors

Posted February. 14, 2012 06:42,   


Thirty-tree North Korean defectors have been caught by the Chinese Public Security Ministry and reportedly face repatriation.

This is the first time that such defectors have been arrested en masse in China after Pyongyang openly threatened to kill three generations of the family of a defector following the inauguration of new leader Kim Jong Un.

According to activists working in China, 12 defectors -- four males and eight females who left Yanji, Jilin province, to head for a third country -- were arrested by Chinese public security officials from Shenyang, Liaoning province, around 6 p.m. Wednesday. Two defectors who were disguised as brother and sister turned out to be spies for the Chinese security agency. Eighteen other defectors who were preparing to leave for South Korea via the same route were also arrested in Changchun and Yanji late last week. Five others were also caught at a station in Shenyang Monday.

Given the large number of defectors arrested over a period of five days, Chinese authorities are staging a campaign to capture more. A Chinese public security source in Shenyang reportedly said, "We will repatriate all of them by Feb. 20 at the latest."

Pyongyang designated a period through the end of March as the "100-day period for mourning the death of Kim Jong Il," and has staged propaganda to the public. It has threatened to kill three generations of a family if one member flees the North over the period.

An informed source on North Korean affairs said, "Considering recent cases, chances are high that North Korean defectors who are repatriated will be sent to the Susong political camp in North Hamgyong Province, the toughest one among all concentration camps in the North. Others could be executed in their hometowns to serve as an example of prosecution."