Young North Korean Swims to Han River for a Freedom

MiMi Jo, June 19, 2017, 9:15 a.m.


North Korean man in his early 20s defected to South Korea by swimming down the Han River on Sunday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The man attached styrofoam pieces and tree branches to his shoulders to keep him afloat and swam down the river. He was found by a South Korean sentry near Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province and is currently being questioned by the military, police and the National Intelligence Service.

There have been a number of direct defections from North Korean civilians and soldiers across the border this month.

Two North Korean fishermen found adrift by South Korean authorities in the East Sea in early June said they want to stay, and a North Korean corporal defected to a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province, on June 13.

"Defections tend to peak in June, when food supplies are low just before the harvest," a government spokesman here said.

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