Chinese police are about to send 16 North Koreans including three children back to North Korea from Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Dandong, and Kunming, the Commission to Help North Korean Refugees said on Thursday.
According to the NGO, the three children were arrested on a train traveling under a broker's escort near Zhengzhou in the Chinese province of Henan last week. They are the 11-year-old daughter and the 13- and 16-year-old sons of a woman who has already settled in South Korea. The broker fled and informed the mother.
On Oct. 24 or 25, six North Koreans were arrested alongside a Korean-Chinese guide trying to board an overland bus in Qingdao, Shandong Province. The guide was released after questioning, and one of the North Koreans reportedly pretended to go to the restroom and fled.
Another four were arrested in Dandong, Liaoning Province and four in Kunming, Yunnan Province. They will highly likely be sent back to the North through Dandong.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry is checking the report through the embassy in Beijing and consulates-general in other regions, a spokesman said.
The move follows a separate incident in September, when Chinese authorities arrested about 20 North Koreans in Shenyang and threatened to repatriate them, causing a protest from the South Korean government.