Laos 9 Sent Home to Embody Kimist “Generosity”

Daily NK has received news that a group of
North Korean youths forcibly repatriated from Laos last May have been sent back
to their points of origin and placed under special surveillance.

A source in Yangkang Province told Daily NK
on the 30th, “The kkotjebi
who returned after being found [in Laos] on their way to South Chosun came from
Yangkang Province. Most of them have been sent to their home counties, while the ones
from Hyesan are now under the management of the Hyesan bureau of the State
Security Department.”

have been given papers so they can work, and they can go to school. The three or four
of them in Hyesan have to report to the security bureau once a week to detail
their activities,” the source said. “People say that they were under
investigation in Pyongyang until now, and that they received propaganda training there.”

Of the 9 that were found in Laos and
forcibly returned to North Korea, 8 are originally from Yangkang Province. The
final individual is from Hamheung in South Hamkyung Province.

“According to people in the know, the kkotjebi went through an intense
investigation in Pyongyang,” the source revealed. “Then they had to reflect on their actions and
write letters of self-criticism saying they would never betray their homelands again. They also received orders relating to their future conduct.”

“I don’t know where this came from exactly,
but there is this claim that they are going around with bells on them so the
security forces know their movements,” the source alleged. “People think they
were unfortunate to be arrested as they were so close to their destination.”

By sending the children back to their home
provinces, the regime appears to be pursuing the consistent application of its own
propaganda, which states that ‘Thanks to the deep affection and generosity of Kim Jong Eun,
traitors can still live normal lives as long as they repent.’ 

Nevertheless, according to the source, an order came down
from the security bureau that all defectors should be thoroughly investigated and
put under surveillance, no matter what the impetus for their initial escape may have been.
The source believes that the overall aim is to incrementally strengthen controls
over the situation along the country’s northern border.

The 9 were forcibly returned to North Korea via China in May. 23 days later, they took part in a structured television program filmed in Pyongyang. At the time, they alleged that they had been “dragged to South Chosun
after being kidnapped by the South Chosun puppet regime” but “have returned
to the embrace of the Republic.” 

Kang Mi Jin
Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to