June 21, 2013 11:09
North Korea on Wednesday paraded before the state press nine young defectors who were coerced into returning from Laos last month. The teenagers, who are believed to be orphans, recited declarations of loyalty to the repressive state and accused South Korea of attempting to kidnap them.
The official KCNA news agency on Thursday said the young defectors "returned to the arms of their fatherland" after being tricked into leaving the North by the "puppet regime" of South Korea.
The young defectors had attempted to reach South Korea via China and Laos, but were taken back to North Korea late last month by North Korean agents, who apparently badgered them into submission in a Lao detention center.
Reports about their ages differ, with some saying they were all teenagers and others that they are between 15 and 23.
KCNA named the youngsters and said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had extended his "loving arms" to accept them, saving them from "falling forever into the depths of misery."
It claimed that the nine young defectors had been living in a South Korean activist's home in China for anywhere between five months and three years and crossed the border into Laos by car. It added Laotian authorities "helped" them return to the North after learning that they were being abducted.
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