Four More North Korean Defectors Return To North Korea

North Korean defectors give a press conference back in Pyongyang.

From Yonhap News:

Four North Korean Defectors Return To North Korea…Hold Press Conference In Pyongyang

Another case of a North Korean couple that escaped North Korea for South Korea and had returned to North Korea has occurred.

North Korea’s state-run media, KCNA, held a press conference for the couple and their daughter on the 24th, as well as four other female defectors who had defected to South Korea and then returned to North Korea.

KCNA spoke, “Kim Kwang-ho, Ko Kyung-hee and others were lured and dragged to South Korea by the puppet government, but have returned to our republic and are giving a press conference on the 24th at the People’s Culture Palace. Despite the [South Korean] puppet government’s vile slander, and the South Koreans’ continuous attempts to try and part our citizens from us, they continue to bid farewell to South Korean society and return to us.”

At the press conference, Kim Kwang-ho said, “In August 2009 my wife and I went to South Korea but decided together at the end of last year that we wanted to return [to North Korea],” introducing both his wife and his 10-month old daughter. Ko Kyung-hee said, “In June 2011 I was forcibly dragged to South Korea and were finally able to return to North Korea at the end of last year.”

The conference also highlighted former defector Park Jeong-sook, who had reentered North Korea last June; couple Kim Kwang-hyeok and Ko Jeong-nam, who reentered last November; and thus 8 people in total who had defected but returned to North Korea.

The Kim Kwang-ho and Kim Ok-shil couple claimed, “South Korea was a very dirty world. We had a silly idea that if we work hard we can become rich, but their world felt so Machiavellian and sinister, so full of malice and deception…we just could not live in that kind of world any more.”

The couple said, since they were worried about their child’s life, they decided to go back to North Korea after hearing about the press conference for Park Jeong-sook.

Ko Kyung-hee said, “I left for South Korea because I was totally deceived. The grim reality of South Korean society is something you could hardly imagine; I spent nearly all of it anxious and in tears. I could not find a job anywhere in the South because of my status as a defector.”

Ko continued, “I longed for my children [that I left behind in the North], and yearned for the embrace of my homeland. I lied to the South Korean authority that I would bring my kids back and entered North Korea via China.”

Comments from Nate:


They came and went back to spy on us! They are killing two birds with one stone – conducting espionage on South Korea while slandering her at the same time. Stop letting these spy noms in!


And of course, they received settlement funds from our government! Such parasites.


While our world may be Machiavellian, dirty, and full of fraud, it is still better than yours. Spy noms


These defectors are spies, who conducted spy activities in our country and then returned to North…future defectors should not receive subsidies from the government…there was a defector spy in Seoul even working in government service.


It is highly likely that they were spies posing as defectors. After all, they cannot return to Pyongyang empty handed.


Did they take Lee Jung-hee with them…


When they defect, they supposedly have to risk their life, but when they return, they can just lie and waltz back to North Korea on a plane ~ North Korean citizens must be curious, too. Does it make sense that it’s so hard to come to South but so easy to go back to North? Ke ke


They were “forcibly dragged” to South Korea…shitting me? Crazy, ke ke ke.


Defectors are really suspicious…They criticize the North Korean regime so hard in South, and poof, they can vanish like this.


Can Lee Jung-hee go with them…


I wish we could let Wu Yuanchun loose in North Korea.


Let’s deport all defectors.  Can we live in peace when there are spies among them? Fuck. Spies posing as public servants who have defected, ssibal. We cannot trust these defector saekki. We just share the same ethnicity with them but they are foreigners. Didn’t the U.S. and U.K. come from the same people as well? Let’s not treat North Koreans as our citizens. Our homeland security is crumbling.


Why were they even let in??


Can they please take Lee Jung-hee with them?


For those who returned to North Korea because they have children there, they are probably given the choice to do a press conference or go to a prison camp.


There is no need to reunify with these commies. Why are my taxes going to feed these people? Isn’t that right, Lim Su-kyung of the DUP?


We shouldn’t allow any more defectors in because honestly, it’s too hard to weed out the spies from the real defectors.


You were free to go back…now you guys have no freedom at all.


Hey, jongpuk, did you hear that? Ke ke Go ahead and cross on over to the North…it must be heaven there for you guys!


How much do you want to bet that commie bitch Lee Jung-hee arranged this??

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  • Ruaraidh

    Aye, I bet they couldn’t stop thinking about their children back in the north; them and thumbscrews and gulag.

  • Peter72

    If they were spies, I think it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t have had access to anything remotely sensitive. And as sad as it is, they probably couldn’t get a job because they were defectors from the North. Unfortunately those that are brave and desperate enough to defect are welcomed with discrimination.

    • Raphael_kB

      Well just last week a defector was busted for apparently spying in the South; he was a government worker who leaked information on thousands of defectors living in the South to North Korean officials – thing aren’t always as they seem I guess. On the other hand it has not be unknown in the past for actual spies to track down real defectors and blackmail them into going back to the North, with their families back in the North as ‘hostages.’

      • chucky3176

        Strong suspicion this is what happened. The families that are left in the North are being held hostages, and the defectors have been blackmailed into going back to save their families. The North Korean spy was actually an ethnic Han Chinese born in North Korea who went back and forth between North Korea and China. He faked his defection to South Korea in 2004, and he was employed by the South Korean government, put in charge of the information of all the NK defectors in the south. The spy leaked the information of 25,000 North Korean defectors in South Korea, to the North, over the period. North Koreans now have the names of the families of those defectors and now they’re using them to blackmail North Korean defectors.

      • commander

        What I want to ask is that if defectors go back to the North, are they forgiven for their escape?
        The regime in Pyongyang may want to make an example for betrayal of defectors with harsh punishment.

        On top of it, even though they are back to Pyongyang, their ill-fated families might be already sent to detention centers and died there of torturing and forced heavy labor.

        That said, North Korean defectors in the democratic South feel uneasy at the thought of indescribable pain inflicted on the remaining families in the commumist country for defections.

        The police state’s intimidation poses a real dillemma for freedom seekers. After all, whatever their choices, regrets and remorses are inevitable. That’s tragic.

        • chucky3176

          There was another woman NK defector several months back, seen on North Korean TV. She reunified with his son who was left in the north. It’s probable that North Korea lured her back to North Korea using her son. North Korea probably was able to identify her son and blackmailed her into returning or else… She probably had to choose either live freely in South Korea, or let her own son put into the labor gulag where he will die a slow painful death. Even before all this, many North Korean defectors in South Korea were really afraid of their lives and also afraid for their families left in North Korea. The defectors who still have family in North Korea, usually cover their faces and are reluctant to reveal their identity. There have been many cases where North Korean defectors would get phone calls at night with death threats and threats against their family in North Korea. What’s worse, is the fact that North Korea now has the information about these defectors in South Korea, who they are, and the names of their family. This is a terrible nightmare for the North Korean defectors in South Korea.

          • commander

            That’s a horrible story.
            Those responsible for the information leak should be punished, and the government should warn North Korea against threatening defectors who have a hard time adjusting to the capitalistic South. The continued failure to shield those risked their lives to come here for freedom and humans rights will constitute a dereliction of duty on the part of the government.

            Plus, the economic harship most defectors settled here face should be addressed with increased financial support and educational help for their children.

  • Jang

    The KCNA said they were “lurred and dragged” to S. Korea, but how? I’d like to know.

    • somms

      They waved some choco-pies at them from across the border. Koreans cannot resist choco-pies.

      • Paul M

        *dreams of a day when North Korean Choco-pies taste a thousand times better than South Korean Choco-pies*

  • commander

    Those who fled South Korea with alleged sins and transgressions for the coummnist regime appear to be oblivious to the emerging grim fact that the impoverished country is coming apart at the seams, as shown by media reports of cannibalism on which some North Koreans who are starving to death rely for survival.

  • South Korea should stop bitching about the North and act like a big brother and forgive it like a big brother and be together, like one big family.

    Its the US that is between unification of Korea. They will never let it happen. As soon as there is a talk of unification, the US comes up with some problem like last time they put more sanction on NK when Kim jong un said, he wants progress in NK and ultimately unite with South.

    The ball is in South Koreas court, don’t let the world bully …bully you too..Kick the Americans out, they have no business in Korea and embrace your own blood. Its sooo simple..They are your own people with same language and culture…You have no excuse…

    How hard it is for two brothers to unite…You have 5000 years of history, show the world…you can forgive and be together…TAKE THE FIRST STEP….

    The whole world is waiting for elder brother to forgive his younger brothers mistake, who is poor and wants to come home…Just take the first step…

    • somms

      Are you serious? I would say the ball is in China’s court. They’re the ones who sent hundreds of thousands of ‘volunteers’ across the border to push back the UN forces towards the end of the Korean War. They’re the ‘big brothers’ who have supported and propped up the Kim legacy regime. They’re the regional power who says nothing when North Korea lashes out or kills its own citizens.

      I can somewhat understand why China would be hesitant to have a united, democratic, US-allied Korea right at the doorstep of Beijing, but let’s not let them off the hook. They either need to have a more defining, guiding hand with North Korea or join the rest of the international community in condemning rogue state actions. They helped build this mess, so they should help fix it, not sit by idly and twiddle its thumbs.

    • Joe

      You’re oversimplifying way too many things, dood.

    • AnthonyLudovici

      Do you really think North Korea is going to accept unification on any terms that would be agreeable to the majority of South Korea’s citizens?

    • Isaac

      You forgot China.
      The Norks won’t give up their commie ways.

    • history and politics cannot be boiled down to simplistic ideals like that.. There are so many details and complications behind this that it is no easy matter. It is not ‘sooo simple’ and they don’t have the same culture. The way you make it sound like it’s so easy peasy only makes you look ignorant and have no understanding of their feud and history.

      You should read up more on N and S kor history again for more understanding on the issue.

      • Inoue52

        I find that when a person here tries to write something non derogatory but positive folks like you can’t wait to condem them with ignorance. There are few miracles in this world. A person can still hope for the best. It is his opinion, and there was nothing wrong with him expressing forgiveness as the key to unification of South and North. Anyone who has experienced life in general knows there are very intricate factors that prevent harmony with humans, greed , jealousy etc. Just like the ‘oppurtjnistic’ Chinese and Realists like yourselves is why there is no peace in the world. Get over yourself already!!!

        • Folks like me? You don’t know me, so trying to stereotype me. Just as him expressing hope in forgiveness, to be frank, it was simplistic. Not that it’s anything bad, but I’ve studied history for a few years now and if history were that simple, people’s blood wouldn’t be mixed in it.

          I mentioned that it makes him look ignorant. I did not say he was ignorant. Precisely because I know that there ARE assholes out there who simply jump on comments like this and trash the hell out of that person (esp with international sites like youtube), I suggested that. I suggested for his good, to brush up on knowledge, so if he talks about this topic in the future, he can understand better why why his idea hasn’t yet already happened, why things are this complicated, and and maybe even come up with a satisfactory way to promote peace.

          You just couldn’t wait to pounce on my post and condemn me for being negative, do you? If you got nothing better to add, then please leave me alone, thanks.

  • jon776

    And now they’re dead.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    I’m pretty sure these folks were forced.
    Then of course, North Korea goes into a media frenzy about it, trying to claim North Korea is Best Korea. My guess they just want people to stop looking at those mean ol’ rumors about there being cannibalism sprouting up in the country.

  • jR harper

    The South Korean commentary, with all the allegations of North Korean spying, really demonstrates the level of state-induced paranoia in the culture. Both countries seem to generate high levels of indignation in their populations when accosted with the fact that their border is permeable.

    The translation – defector – is also commonly seen. In the US there is much more linguistic debate, but not one commenter tried to poise these people as “refugees” or “escapees.”

    There is very little that comes out of N.Korea that is not heavily monitored, polished, and approved by individuals who oversee state interest. The lack of critique or suspicion reveals a very strange void.

    But the strangest thing about the American comments on this site is a similar lack of sophistication. It seems like the people who built this site see the deep value and insight that can be gleaned, but commenters here eat up every bite. The English lines of argument are tonal mirrors of the translated.

    • chucky3176

      I wouldn’t say it’s paranoia, more like ignorance amongst the young in South Korea, about how much suffering North Koreans are going through and the type of social structure in place. If you weren’t aware, much of the South Korean popular culture that portrays North Korea in the movies and dramas, North Korea comes off looking like poor but harmless. There are even certain romanticism about the life in North Korea displayed in South Korean dramas. The only movie that I can think of, that even remotely accurately portrays life in North Korea, is the 2009 movie “The Crossing”, which was a flop. Since Korean directors won’t touch this subject, the only hope is that Hollywood will get into this and hopefully open some South Korean’s eyes. There is one Hollywood project on the go right now, based on a book of one North Korean camp survivor, born inside the camp, who escaped from Yodeok North Korean concentration camp. This person is the only person who ever escaped that camp.

      Coupled with the fact that many South Koreans could really care less about what’s really going on in North Korea, there’s a certain dissonance for South Koreans. North Korean defectors tell of horrendous stories about their lives in North Korea, but the stories they tell are so unbelievable, that many South Koreans have a hard time believing them. There needs to be education done on North Korea, but South Korean schools which are controlled by Korean Teacher’s Union have stopped teaching materials that may make North Korea look bad, so all the learning materials are sanitized. The result is many young South Korean kids haven’t a clue about the life in North Korea.

      • jR harper

        Thanks for the response. I’m glad that you started it out by saying it was ignorance amongst the young, because that begins to answer questions that seem a lot more interesting than jumping on the backs of silly arguments a world away. It begins to try and situate the commenters in a social space and demography. I use this site to try and figure out attitudes that lay hidden in separate cultures, and the first challenge is to figure out questions like:

        1) What type of people use, in this instance, Yonhap news. Further,

        2) How do other online Korean communities bring this same story into their discourse?

        3) What type of site is Yonhap news? What is its reputation compared to other Korean news sites?

        4) Is koreabang itself attempting to probe into a balanced set of demographies?

        Etcetera. I wish that there could be some way that metadata about the articles and the sites the articles are pulled from could be collected. This would really help enable another level of analysis.

    • Jimmy Hoffa


  • Amir Fahran

    Didn’t Kim say that he would shoot any who fled and returned? Ah, well…the Great Leader’s mercies…

  • kittyksin

    why dont people think that maybe they werent spies? maybe they went to south korea for a better future but somehow got contacted by north korea who probably threatened their family that remained in north korea? maybe they returned to save their families and werent able to ensure their families safety unless they did a conference full of lies?
    its not surprising if this is true! north korean citizens were forced to mourn the death of the dictator publically or else their loved ones would be harmed??
    JUST BECAUSE THEIR NORTH KOREAN DOESNT MEAN THAT THEYRE ALL BAD! when there is a country that is frequently frowned upon, it is the GOVERNMENT to blame! the government influences the military, law enforcements, etc. IT IS NOT THE PEOPLE’S FAULT! a lot of regular north korean citizens are poor and of need of help, dont automatically assume that their spies!

    • L.J

      It’s easier to think of them as spies because to think logically or be sympathetic to these North Korean defects take too much effort on their part. The fact that a defector was quoted saying he was ‘dragged to the South’ is just as proposterous as the scripted mourners of the late Kim Jong Il passing. I feel sorry for them.

  • flpsde76

    South Koreans are racist towards North Koreans. Just goes to prove that South Korean people are racist even to their own kind. If you’re not South Korean…or White, then South Koreans do not want you in their country. I thought the US was racist…then I came to Korea to find that Koreans are ten times more. What does it say to South Koreans, that a North Korean defector would rather return to their poor country and face execution than to stay in South Korea?? If you’re own kind is calling you a racist…then you are!

    • lol

      The thing is that people of higher status can talk down to someone of lower status. You must have been butthurt when you found that out. There’s probably less racism in South Korea since people don’t spit on you, throw rocks at you or call you a chink like in Canada.

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  • Jimmy Hoffa

    For the sake of argument let’s assume for a moment they are telling the truth. Is it possible people who have lived their whole lives being told how to live, how to think, what to think, what to do etc. might find freedom and all the responsibility that comes with it; just to overwhelming? I think it might be. Instead of calling them all spies, maybe it would be more productive to consider there might be more effective ways to integrate the refugees into a free society such that they won’t yearn to give up their hard won freedom in the face of overwhelming change. Have none of you ever found yourself in a new situation among strangers who think so differently that you begin to suspect either they, or you, might be, bat shit crazy? I know I’ve experienced that kind of culture shock before and it can be disorienting. Also, of all the people who escape the DPRK how many want to go back? I mean it’s just a tiny fraction. Frankly, it’s surprising, given the dramatic change, that more people don’t want to go back to a life that, while impoverished, at least they understand.

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