N.Korean Regime 'Using GPS Trackers to Thwart Defectors'

      May 10, 2019 13:50

      The North Korean regime is turning to advanced technology to track would-be defectors and nab their traffickers, according to testimony from defectors on Thursday.

      In one instance, the regime tried to nab a trafficker who helps defectors flee the oppressive country by planting a GPS tracker in the doll of a child.

      The nine-year-old girl escaped from North Korea recently. Her parents had fled and settled down in South Korea earlier and had planned for her to follow them, but the regime got wind of the escape plan even though the child herself had not been told for fear that she might accidentally blurt it out.

      A North Korean defector shows a stuffed toy implanted with a GPS tracker. /Courtesy of Caleb Mission

      But just before she crossed the border she was given a stuffed frog toy by a man who said, "This is a gift for you. Give it to your mom." She arrived in China with the doll in her arms.

      But the trafficker in China became suspicious of the toy and phoned her parents to ask whether they had given it to her. When they said no he examined the toy more closely and found the tracking device with a USIM chip.

      The broker left the device undisturbed for fear that North Korean agents or Chinese police might burst in on their safe house if he removed it.

      In the past, the regime has planted old-fashioned spies among any would-be defectors. In one instance, a group of seven defectors, including a 10-year-old child, were suddenly captured by Chinese police in Shenyang because one of them was a spy.

      Pastor Kim Seung-eun of Caleb Mission, who has supported defectors for more than two decades, said, "I heard before that the regime plants tracking devices in would-be defectors' baggage."

      He added the regime is probably using the trackers to map the most common defection routes.

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