March 17, 2015 08:23
A North Korean defector from North Hamgyong Province was given a prison sentence after getting caught smuggling drugs into South Korea from China last year.
The 38-year-old had looked in vain for a job and was desperate for money when she was approached by another defector who tempted her with the chance of some quick cash.
The defector told police she needed money to feed herself and felt rejected by South Korean society.
More defectors end up in prison here every year. In 2011 there were 51 defectors behind bars here, but that had risen to 97 in the first half of last year. Crimes range from drug possession, fraud and embezzlement to assault and murder.
A police officer said, "Defectors tend to be vulnerable to crime because they are often poor and face discrimination."
Defectors are also easy targets for criminals. According to the Korean Institute of Criminology, 23.4 percent of North Korean defectors have fallen victim to fraud, compared to the South Korean average of just 0.5 percent.
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