By By Dave Lucas, Reuters
of Reuters |
Most North Koreans who break out do so by crossing the river border. A Reuters team photographed and interviewed some of those who made it to Seoul.
Jeong Min-woo, 29, poses for a photograph in Seoul, South Korea, August 9, 2017. Min-woo is from Hyesan, on the border with China. He was a commissioned officer in the Korean People’s Army, and left in his uniform. South Korean intelligence confiscated it, but he persuaded his North Korean military contacts to send him a new one. “I arrived in South Korea on Nov. 22, 2013. I did not desert my unit. It was never a desertion, I left to earn money. I told the guards at the border I was leaving. It worked out, since we were all military men. When I got as far as Thailand I borrowed clothes from friends, and put my uniform in my bag just in case. If I was going to go back to North Korea I needed to be dressed in it. A military uniform and ID card are valuable assets in North Korea. The military can do anything.”
© REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji