More than a dozen North Korean defectors have been arrested in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai where they await deportation to South Korea.
Thai media reported police arrested the 13 after they fled North Korea and smuggled themselves into Thailand.
"The South Korean embassy there is taking appropriate steps so that they can go anywhere they want, including South Korea," a government official here said. "There'll be no trouble in bringing them here if they want to come."
But a source said the group handed themselves over to police voluntarily to expedite their deportation.
"There seem to be as many as 16," a source said. "They will probably be let go after about a week's investigation."
They traveled on an established people-smuggling route via China and Laos.