According to a source from Hamgyeongbuk-do in the NK Times on the 20th, news is spreading that hundreds of North Korean defectors in China have been forcibly repatriated to North Korea, especially among residents of the border areas of North Hamgyong Province, including Hoeryeong City and Musan County.
As news of the forced repatriation of North Korean defectors residing in China spreads, residents are said to be surprised that hundreds of people were forcibly repatriated at once and that many people had defected.
In particular, residents are expressing concern that the North Korean authorities will apply the highest level of punishment ever, as they have been forcibly repatriating North Korean defectors in China for several years. It is also reported that sympathy is spreading, such as ‘How did they get caught?’
In fact, a resident of Hoeryeong City said in a phone call with this paper, “It is known that about 80 people from Hoeryeong City are among those repatriated to North Korea, and they are currently undergoing intensive investigation by the city security department.”
He continued, “The National Security Agency is advertising to the residents that those who were forcibly repatriated to North Korea are traitors who betrayed the country, but in reality, the residents here are asking, ‘Why are you bringing back people who went there to make a living? What are you going to do with people who have eaten as much as they can from capitalism?’ “We are seeing a reaction like this,” he explained.
At the same time, he said, “Regarding this North Korean repatriation incident, some residents said, ‘If you risked your life, you would have lived well no matter what. How did you get caught?’ Some residents said, ‘If you think you will be caught, you will go to the lower (Korean) neighborhood. Why are you caught like a fool?’ “I am expressing my regret,” he testified.
Previously, this paper reported on the 11th that about 650 North Korean defectors in China were forcibly repatriated to North Korea on October 8th and 9th. (Related article: [Exclusive] China, ‘650 North Korean defectors’ were forcibly repatriated to North Korea on the 8th and 9th… “After investigation, correctional center ” )
The source said, “We all know here (in North Korea) that if you live in China, you will be captured someday, but I don’t know why (those people) don’t go to South Korea. They say that if you go to Korea, your status and safety will be guaranteed, but why don’t you go to Korea and act like a fool?” “I don’t know if he was caught or not,” he said, expressing his regret.
The source continued, “This incident of repatriation to North Korea is not simply an incident of arresting North Korean defectors, but appears to have been intended to break the will of the local residents to defect by showing them what happens if they betray the country. However, among the residents, there are concerns about the authorities’ intentions. “In contrast, rather than feeling fear or anxiety about defecting from North Korea, there are more people who sympathize with and feel sorry for those repatriated to North Korea,” he emphasized.