Fifty helium balloons carrying propaganda leaflets and 2,000 $1 bills were floated into North Korea at 1 p.m. on Thursday, a day before regime founder Kim Il-sung's birthday. The balloons were sent by 27 activists from Jung-myeon, Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi Province.
The leaflets denounce Kim Il-sung and also carry pictures of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, saying, "The hereditary transition of power is doomed to fail" and calling on North Koreans to rise up.
Chung Jin-il, one of the activists, said, "North Koreans can survive for a month on US$1. We hope the North Koreans, who are celebrating the late Kim Il-sung's birthday will see the truth when they read the leaflets."
The civic groups twice changed launch points for the balloons to avoid clashes with local residents who are afraid of retaliation from the North.
They had originally decided on Yeoncheon and changed to the Peace Dam in Gangwon Province on Wednesday night and finally to Yeoncheon Thursday morning.
"After the North threatened to fire shells at the launch points of the balloons, the military and local residents have protested strongly. We're acting cautiously to avoid clash with local residents," said a spokesman for the activists.