N. Korean authorities issue arrest warrant for police official

Man and his family have been missing for over one month, leading many to believe they have defected

police official
A North Korean border guard post. Surveillance cameras can be seen nearby. / Image: Kang Dong Wan, professor, Dong-A University

North Korean authorities issued an arrest warrant for an official who worked at a police station in Nampo, near Pyongyang, after he disappeared with his family, Daily NK sources reported on Dec. 27. 

North Korean authorities made the man’s photo public back in the end of November and, keeping the possibility of defection in mind, urged nearby residents to immediately report any sign of the man to the authorities. 

According to sources in Ryanggang Province, the missing official, Choi, is in his 40s had been working in the intelligence section of a police station in Nampo. He has reportedly been missing for about a month along with his wife and two sons.

Suspecting that Choi defected across the border to China, authorities opened an investigation but have yet to arrest him, sources said. 

police official
Guard post and checkpoint in North Pyongan Province. Image: Daily NK

Choi’s picture and personal information were distributed at various other police stations and shared with the public. No specific crime is mentioned but he is being painted as a traitor and regarded as a defector.

To arrest Choi and his family, North Korean security officials have distributed his photo at guard posts and “food control checkpoints” (sentry posts established to crack down on the private sale of foodstuffs) along the border in order to prevent him and his family from defecting, the source said.  

Many North Koreans in the area the man disappeared believe it will be difficult for the authorities to find a person who has been missing for over a month. Locals think that it is highly likely Choi and his family have already crossed the border into China. 

Daily NK sources have reported that locals consider the authorities efforts to find the man – including staging raids on various houses in the area – as mere formality, rather than part of any serious efforts to apprehend the Choi and his family.

*Translated by Gabriela Bernal

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