This is actually pretty amazing that an entire restaurant staff would defect because the selection process for the job is relatively stringent so it isn’t like the workers are coming from desperately poor families in North Korea. It is also pretty impressive that the entire staff was able to coordinate with each other to do this without fear of one of them informing on them back to regime minders:
Thirteen North Koreans working in a state-run restaurant outside the country have defected to South Korea, a government official in Seoul said Friday.
The South Korean government estimates that Pyongyang rakes in around $10 million every year from some 130 restaurants it operates — with mostly North Korean staff — in 12 countries, including neighbouring China.
Last month, while unveiling a series of unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang over its January nuclear test, Seoul had urged South Korean citizens overseas to boycott any such establishments, saying their profits funded the North’s nuclear weapons programme.
The defectors, one male manager and a dozen women, arrived in the South on Thursday, Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee told reporters.
He declined to identify the country where the restaurant they had been working in was located.
There have been defections by individual restaurant workers in the past, but this is the first time so many staff from one restaurant have defected en masse.
Jeong quoted one of the defectors as saying that everyone had been “on the same page” about escaping to South Korea. [AFP]
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