Defectors’ Families in Firing Line

On the pretext of clamping down on the leaking of information to the outside world, the North Korean authorities have ramped up controls over the families of defectors, Radio Free Asia reported (RFA) yesterday.

Park, a 32-year old defector, told RFA about the clampdown, reportedly explaining, “My family living in the border region of North Hamkyung Province was called on by the National Security Agency (NSA) and faced threats.”

According to the defector, the security agent told them, “Your brother ran away to South Chosun, but now we know exactly where he lives”, and added, “Under no circumstances are you to phone him or run away.”

Park went on, “The North Korean NSA knows everything about defectors who have settled in South Korea, including their addresses,” and added, “It’s not just my family; scores of defectors’ families living in Hoiryeong have faced the same threats.”

Another defector, 28-year old Kim from Busan agreed, saying, “A while ago I contacted my family, and got word that the NSA had investigated when they got money from me and when they called me.”

According to Kim, the NSA agent said, “Thanks to the cordial policy of the Party, you should admit the truth and you will be forgiven,” but threatened, “Supposing it were to take too long, there would be no forgiveness.”

“Some families gave in to this temptation and confided the truth, but were dragged in by the NSA for interrogation there and then,” Kim added.

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