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In China, 11 North Koreans and 1 South Korean Activist Arrested

In China, 11 North Koreans and 1 South Korean Activist Arrested

Posted September. 02, 2002 22:29,   


A German Doctor Nobert Vollertsen, who has been helping North Korean refugees, disclosed on September 2, 2002 that 11 North Koreans seeking the status of refugee and one South Korean guarding them were arrested by the Chinese police at a train station in the North Eastern part of China.

Dr. Vollertsen stated in his Sep. 2nd e-mail to the media companies that the arrested South Korean is Kim Hee-tae, and North Koreans consisting of 5 men, 5 women and a boy were about to get onboard a train to Beijing to file their petitions for refugee status.

In response, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korean Embassy in Beijing said that they did not have any direct information.

In the meanwhile, the Chinese police, according to AFP, launched a large-scale search for the 8 North Koreans who tried to enter ECUADOR Embassy in the morning of September 2. Prior to this search, the 8 North Koreans told the reporters that they tired in vain to enter the Embassy building due to the heavy security around that building.

Eye-witnesses said that hundreds of Chinese police have been ransacking in search of the North Koreans the streets and alleys around the diplomatic building “Sanriton” in Beijing where the Embassy is located.

In the meanwhile, Lee Suh, the president of a civil activist group supporting North Korean refugees in China said, “I heard this news from an activist in China. All Dr. Vollertsen said is true.”

Lee also said, “China’s cracking-down gets more severe. Accordingly, not only North Korean refugees arrested in China but also the activists supporting them are being treated inhumanely by the Chinese government. I will ask for the cooperation of Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and find out the possibility of their release.”

Noh Jae-ok, director general of Good Friends which also supports North Koreans, worried, “China is heavily cracking down on North Koreans. Thus, many of them in China will just give up filing applications for refugee status.”

Hyo-Lim Son aryssong@donga.com