SEOUL (Reuters) – Last week, a 24-year-old guard returned to North Korea the way he left in 2017, officials say, but this time with a coronovirus epidemic in the background, his illegal visit attracted more attention.
FILE PHOTO: This photo taken from Dora Observatory in Paju, 55 km (34 mi) north of Seoul, on September 25, 2013, is seen in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the city of Kaesong from South Korea. REUTERS / Lee Jae-Won
South Korea has identified the man with his surname Kim, and said he was a “fugitive” who North Korea accused last week of illegally crossing its shared border with symptoms of COVID-19.
Facing an investigation into sexual harassment, Kim said on July 19 the South Korean military said it developed high-tech South Korean border control systems by crawling through a drain pipe and floating north across the Han River. He appears to have spent several days there before being caught.
South Korean military chief Park Han-ki told parliament on Tuesday that Kim, who is 163 cm (5.35 ft) tall and weighs 54 kg (119 lb), made her way through the barbed wire fence installed at the end of the pipe. Bites, leading to River.
A Seoul official told Reuters that Kim is believed to have taken a similar route when heading south in 2017, and officials say he had already prepared the area in July.
Kim’s story as a defender begins and, until now, ends in the North Korean border town of Kesong City, which hosts a now-closed inter-Korean factory park and liaison office.
When that industrial project was called off in 2016 amid growing tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the economic shock prompted Kim to try his luck in the South in 2017, he said, in June in South Korea In a YouTube video filmed with a fellow defender.
Instead of making its way through China, as most of North Korea’s big defenders usually do, Kim leads South Korea to the heavily demilitarized zone bordering the Porus Sea that divides the two Koreas.
“After passing through barbed wire fences, I encountered minefields, which I bypassed and came to a reed farm near the Han River, where I remained hidden for about three hours,” he said in the video. Said, he was staying away from bread. Pieces.
They began swimming after the lights on the southern bank of the river. When he finally made land, he let him cry for help, and was found by a unit of South Korean soldiers.
Little is known about the way Kim lived in South Korea, but a source with information about his background told Reuters that his win for at least one of Kasong’s partner was 20 million. ($ 16,800).
“He had expressed a desire to become a security lecturer for the students, like many other defenders do, but it never happened, partly due to an epidemic,” the source said on the anonymity of the issue’s sensitivity.
According to police, on June 20, a female guard filed a complaint on June 12, accusing Kim of sexually assaulting her at her home. He interviewed her once on June 21, and she denied the allegations.
A police officer said Kim’s acquaintances informed police on July 19 that they threatened the woman and planned to flee north.
Kim’s arrest warrant was issued two days later, but according to North Korean state media, he had already reached there.
As of July 24, North Korean authorities had found him in Kaesong, and said he exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered that the city be closed and a state of emergency declared, state media reported on Sunday.
South Korean health officials said Kim had no signs of being infected with coronovirus before leaving the South, and at least two people who were in close contact with her have tested negative.
Reporting by Hyonhee Shing, Sangmi Cha and Josh Smith. Editing by Gerry Doyle