MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - A South Korean man, who fled his homeland to escape financial troubles, was sent back to the South by the North Korean authorities, the New York Times reports.
According to Pyongyang officials, the 52-year old man named Kim Sang-geun “entered the North through an unidentified third country to escape his economic difficulties in the capitalist South”. He asked permission for him and his family to stay in the country, but was “convinced” by North Korean authorities to return home.
In his homeland, he is most likely to be accused of breaking the National Security Law, which prohibits travelling from South to North Korea without official approval. Direct contact between the citizens of two countries is also considered illegal – people are not allowed to make phone calls or send each other emails and letters.
According to the New York Times, about 27,000 North Koreans managed to cross the border to escape from political persecution in their homeland and gain citizenship in the South. Cases of a “reverse migration” are more seldom, as the standard of living in the South is considered much higher than in the North. However, some South Koreans were also registered to flee their country, driven by legal and financial troubles, business failures or family problems.
In October 2013 six men and a dead woman’s body were repatriated from North Korea to the South. All seven defectors considered moving to the North as a chance for a fresh start, but were met by a very different turn of events on their arrival. After they crossed the border, they were arrested and held in prison for several months on charges of illegal entry. The woman was killed by her husband, one of the six men, during a family brawl.
Thus, the repatriation of Kim Sang-geun is not unprecedented. As his six predecessors, he is expected to face criminal charges for breaking the South Korean law.