July 24, 2017 11:24
A North Korean family of five, including a former senior official of the Workers Party, committed suicide last week after they were caught by Chinese police and faced deportation to the North. They were heading to South Korea.
Activist Kim Hee-tae told the Chosun Ilbo on Sunday, "Fifteen defectors who were on their way to South Korea were caught by police in the Chinese province of Yunnan a week ago."
"They killed themselves by taking poison after they were taken to Shenyang, Liaoning Province three days ago and faced deportation to the North," he added. They were a 50-something senior official of a regional agency of the Workers Party, his wife, son and two daughters.
"Right after they were caught in Yunnan, they tried to bribe their way out through a local fixer, but once they were taken to Shenyang they probably lost hope and killed themselves," Kim speculated.
The Foreign Ministry in Seoul declined to confirm the story.
Meanwhile, China appears to be cracking down more aggressively on refugees from the North. Twenty-seven defectors who were on their way to South Korea were arrested in Yunnan in July alone. Five others were caught in Guangxi near the border with Vietnam and 11 in Jilin Province, according to a source said.
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