Leftwing Students Demand Jail for N.Korean Defector

  • By Jung Woo-young

    August 07, 2018 11:48

    A group of university students rallied in western Seoul last week demanding that two prominent North Korean defectors who are darlings of the conservative press be thrown in jail.

    The protesters held up placards and passed out fliers accusing Thae Yong-ho, the former No. 2 man in the North Korean Embassy in London, of being a "pedophile" and "blocking peace and reunification."

    The also accused Park Sang-hak, who leads a group that regularly sends propaganda fliers attached to balloons across the border, of "profiteering" from North Korean human rights causes by embezzling donations.

    After Thae defected to the South in 2016, the North's official Korean Central News Agency started a smear campaign accusing him of stealing government money and raping a teenager. The Unification Ministry here said the allegations are groundless.

    The students call themselves the Progressive Korean University Student Alliance and are believed to be affiliated with the hard-left Unified Progressive Party, which was disbanded in late 2014 in a trial on charges of instigating a rebellion.

    The group was launched earlier this month and held a demonstration in front of the Defense Ministry on Aug. 3 calling for the dissolution of the Defense Security Command. They also held a discussion session with North Korean defector Kim Ryon-hui, who has made several desperate attempts to return to her family in the North and is being denied a passport by the South Korean government.

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