Posted August. 01, 2015 07:20,
North Korean residents have been shock to learn that the three North Korean fishers, who defected to South Korea after being rescued by South Korean coast guards while adrift on the East Sea in early July, are members of the North`s ruling Workers` Party of Korea (WPK), Radio Free Asia reported Thursday, citing source in the communist state.
According to the source in the report, the North Korean fishing boat, which went adrift with five fishermen on board after leaving a port in Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province in early July to catch squids, was owned by a North Korean military unit. When the boat did not return two days after the departure, local resident thought that it had an accident on the sea. However, they sensed that something unusual had happened when the North Korean authorities called the fishers` families into Pyongyang around July 10, the source said.
On July 14, the South Korean government repatriated two of the five fishers who wanted to return home. At that time, the North demanded that all of the five fishers be repatriated, claiming that the other three who expressed their wish to defect to the South were forcibly detained by Seoul.
When the two fishers set foot North Korean soil again on July 14, the North held a news conference at the truce village of Panmunjeom where the families of the other three remaining in the South urged Seoul to release them. Because of the news conference, the incident came to be widely known in the North.
However, Chongjin residents were shaken up when they found out about the returnees. Among the five crewmen on board the boat, three were WPK members, while the other two were not. All of the three party members voluntarily chose to stay in the South. It is said that the North Korean authorities do not punish fishers rescued by South Korean while adrift.
The source said that local residents are cynical about the fishers, saying that non-party members are more loyal than members and that the returnees could not become party members because they were "stupid" enough to come back from the South, which many other North Koreans risk their lives to defect to.
The source also noted that the families of the three defectors remain unscathed, while the two returnees have returned to work after undergoing harsh investigation by security officials, rather than being commended, fanning the ridicules by local residents.