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Three North Koreans Defected Aboard Boat Through East Sea

Three North Koreans Defected Aboard Boat Through East Sea

Posted April. 06, 2003 22:09,   


A North Korean family of three crossed into South Korean waters in the East Sea on a small wooden boat and defected to the South.

Around 4:15 on Sunday morning a boat that doesn’t bear any name on it was spotted by a South Korean skipper, Jin Chul-soo, two miles off Jumunjin Harbor in Gangweon Province and was reported to the maritime police.

Three people were aboard the cultivator engine-powered 0.5-ton wooden boat. They were identified as Kim Jung-gil, 46, who is a bee farmer, his 20-year-old son, Kwang-hyuk, and Kim’s brother, Jung-hoon, 40. They left Raheung, South Hamgyeong Province.

They showed their willingness to defect to South Korea saying to maritime police officers that they "came from North Korea" and that "we will not go back to the North." It is the first time that a North Korean has defected to the South on a boat through the East Sea since the nation was divided into the two Koreas.

Ñ Defection Course = According to the maritime police, they departed Raheung, South Hamgyeong Province on the wooden boat at 6:00 p.m. on April 2nd, they sailed in the open sea and into four days of their journey they arrived in waters two miles off the Jumunjin coast at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday. Instead of approaching the land, they tied their boat to fixed shore nets and sent signals to show their willingness to defect. They were found wrapping themselves in salt bags to bear the cold weather.

"I disobeyed the party’s order to collect six-ton honey for the 60th birthday of Kim Jong-il, the chairman of North Korea’s National Defense Commission, so I was sent to jail. As the wound that I got when arrested worsened, I was released on parole July last year. Since then I prepared for defection to the South," said Kim Jung-gil.

They prepared a boat on the pretext of going catching sea urchins and left Raheung with 14 kgs of rice, two bags of biscuits, 15 apples, 70 kgs of diesel, and 25 liters of drinking water.

Ñ Problems = The South Korean military and police did not spot them off the east coast for a day. In addition, the North Koreans made a fire at the sea to signal defection two miles off Jumunjin Harbor at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday but neither the military nor the police noticed the fire. They were reported to take the fire for the light of ships in operation to catch herrings.

That at this time fishermen found an unidentified boat approaching the coast like the infiltration of a submarine in 1996 reveals that the guard in the sea between Goseong and Gangreung by the military and the police has serious problems.