United Nations Command Decides To Not Release Footage of North Korean Defector’s Escape

My guess on not releasing this footage may be that the UNC does not want to rub it in the face of the Kim regime that one of their soldiers defected when they have been quiet recently:

The United Nations Command has put off a plan to release video footage of a North Korean soldier’s dramatic escape across a jointly patrolled area in the heart of the Demilitarized Zone.

The soldier defected to the South on Monday by driving a military jeep to the line that divides the peninsula, then rushing across it under a hail of gunfire from his former comrades.

The defector was severely wounded by the gunfire and has been hospitalized. His doctor, Lee Guk-jong, told reporters his condition was stabilized after a second operation on Wednesday, but he was riddled with parasites that were complicating his recovery.

Officials with the UNC, which is commanded by U.S. Army Gen. Vincent Brooks and has authority over the Joint Security Area, said earlier this week they would make public footage from surveillance cameras that monitored the border dash.

But the UNC issued a press release Friday summarizing already-known facts of the case and saying it will not release more details or material until an investigation is completed.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link.

North Korean Defector Shot While Crossing the DMZ Now Trying To Survive from Roundworm Outbreak

This is pretty disgusting that the North Korean soldier that defected to South Korea recently through the Joint Security Area had an 11-inch worm pulled out of his intestine:

A North Korean soldier shot multiple times while defecting to the South is in a stable condition but riddled with parasites that could complicate his chances of survival, his doctor said Thursday.

The soldier dashed across the border at the Panmunjom truce village on Monday, as former comrades from the North opened fire on him, hitting him at least four times.

He was pulled to safety by three South Korean soldiers who crawled to reach him, just south of the dividing line.

The young man was rushed to hospital in South Korea by helicopter where he has undergone two rounds of emergency surgery.

“Vital signs including his pulse are returning to stability”, attending doctor Lee Cook-Jong told journalists.

However, he warned, the un-named soldier could rapidly deteriorate at any moment.

“We’re paying close attention to prevent possible complications,” said Lee, who on Wednesday said “an enormous number of parasites” including roundworms had been found in the small intestine.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 20 years as a physician”, he said, adding the longest worm he removed was 27 centimetres (11 inches).

Parasites, especially roundworms, are widespread in North Korea — as they are in many developing countries — where people eat uncooked vegetables that have been fertilised with human faeces, experts say.  [AFP]

You can read more at the link.

North Korean Soldier Tried to Defect By Driving Car Across the DMZ

This would have been the first ever defection by car that I know of if the North Korean soldier turned defector was able to pull this off and drive a car across the DMZ:

A North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea via the truce village of Panmunjom earlier this week drove a car to the area, the authorities said Tuesday.

“(He) then exited the vehicle and continued fleeing south” across the military demarcation line (MDL) after being shot by North Korean troops, according to the United Nations Command (UNC).

The individual, presumed to be a North Korean soldier, “initially took cover near a building on the southern side of the JSA,” the UNC said, using the abbreviation for the Joint Security Area (JSA).

Four North Korean soldiers chased him, firing shots with their pistols and AK-47 rifles, an official at the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, citing CCTV footage of the scene.

He was hit by five rounds while running away from the North in the area inside the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ), he added.

It’s also unclear whether the North’s troops actually crossed the MDL, even for seconds, during the hunt. (……)

The car sped towards a guard post but its wheels fell into a nearby drain, the JCS spokesman Army Col. Roh Jae-cheon said earlier. At the time of the defection, the soldier was clad in the Korean People’s Army uniform and had no weapon, he added.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Tweet of the Day: Lankov on When A Russian Defected in the JSA

Louisiana Man Arrested in South Korea After Allegedly Trying to Defect to North Korea

If this guy really wanted to defect he would have flown to China and walked across the border there where it is much easier than trying to cross the DMZ.  I think it is more likely that this is just some confused or mentally challenged old guy or someone looking for attention:

South Korean police have arrested a U.S. citizen who allegedly entered a restricted border area near North Korea without permission.

A 58-year-old man from Louisiana identified only as “A” was detained Monday after crossing the Civilian Control Line near the heavily fortified frontier, according to South Korea’s defense ministry.

People must have a permit to enter the area, which is just south of the Demilitarized Zone, a 2.2-mile wide, 150-mile-long no man’s land that divides the peninsula. It’s also the site of several tourist attractions.

Military officials initially said they believed the man traveled to South Korea planning to enter the North for political purposes. But investigators, who have turned the case over to local police, later said they had determined he had no communist connections.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

North Korean Defector and Author Hyeonseo Lee Interviewed by TIME

I once had the opportunity to talk to a North Korean defector and this is very similar to what the defector told the group I was with in regards to why people believe what they do in North Korea:

How serious is the brainwashing in North Korea?
When Kim Il Sung died in 1994, I was shocked — I never expected him to die. Because we truly believed he was a god, who didn’t smoke, drink alcohol or go to the bathroom, or [have sex] with women.

Some people criticize North Koreans and ask, Are they stupid? How can they believe those ridiculous things? But I say, It doesn’t matter if you’re smart, if you were born in North Korea you would be exactly like us. We don’t know what freedom is. We have never enjoyed it. We don’t know what democracy is or capitalism. We are completely blocked. Not only from the outside world, but also domestically as it’s not easy to travel around inside North Korea unless you have a travel certificate from the regime. You only have one TV channel — it’s a propaganda channel. We believed that’s utopia because we cannot compare.  [TIME]

You can read much more of this interview with Hyeonseo Lee at the link such as how she strongly agrees with the increased sanctions on the Kim regime.

American Caught Trying to Swim to North Korea

North Korea just has a way of attracting weirdos:

A young American man has been caught trying to swim across a river border into North Korea, a government source said Wednesday.

The man was arrested by Marine sentries at around 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday while he was swimming across the Han River, which borders with North Korea, the source said.

The river cuts through the South Korean capital of Seoul and its adjacent county of Gimpo into the Yellow Sea.

During an interrogation following the arrest, the U.S. citizen of Arabic descent said “I was trying to go to North Korea in order to meet with supreme leader Kim Jong-un,” according to the source.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the Yonhap link, but from what the Korea Herald is reporting this guy did not get very far on his swim.