Han Man-taek (72), a war prisoner captured by North Korean troops during the 1950-53 Korean War, recently escaped North Korea to seek a way to enter South Korea, but was arrested by Chinese officers and is about to be sent back to the North against his will, a Chinese source said Monday.
Han crossed the Dooman River bordering China earlier this year and had stayed at the Koryo Hotel located at Yanji of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Province to meet his nephew to take him to South Korea, but was arrested there by Chinese officers, the source added.
It was his family in South Korea who took him out of there. They confirmed his survival in the North and had planned his escape for several months. He is now in poor condition. He is too old for this, and besides, he has suffered complications from diabetes, said a North Korea defector who helped Han escape.
We have tried diplomatic channels to confirm the arrest, and if he is verified as a war prisoner, we will do our best to bring him back to South Korea, said a concerned staff member from the South Korean embassy in China.
So far, the number of war prisoners fleeing the North to the South stands at 42.