August 17, 2016 09:31
Thirteen North Koreans who escaped from a restaurant in China's Ningbo left a halfway house in South Korea last Thursday and began the process of settling into their new lives, it emerged on Tuesday.
The 12 waitresses and their manager made their way to South Korea by commercial flight on April 7 and were then subjected to a lengthy investigation and basic training in living in a democratic society.
A Unification Ministry official confirmed that they have left the halfway house but declined to give details to ensure their safety.
Other defectors are sent on to the Hanawon settlement support facility, but this was deemed too dangerous and they will be watched over by the National Intelligence Service.
North Korea was inordinately stung by their defection since staff for overseas restaurants are usually drawn from the children of the elite, and paraded their families before the state media claiming they had been "abducted."
It made the claim so forcefully that some leftwingers here demanded an investigation.
A leftwing lawyers group filed a habeas corpus petition with a court to find out if they came here of their own free will.
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