A North Korean was recently shot dead near the Sino-North Korean border by the Storm Corps as he was attempting to re-enter the country, Daily NK has learned.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Tuesday that on Sept. 30, a local who had crossed the border from Hoeyrong to visit a relative in China was “fired upon and shot dead” when the Storm Corps discovered him trying to return to the country.

He said the border patrol later cremated the body and returned the remains to the family through the Ministry of State Security.

According to the source, the local — reportedly a man in his 50s — went missing in mid-September, with the Ministry of State Security presuming he had crossed the border. With no evidence, however, the ministry was uncertain of the man’s whereabouts.

His neighbors also presumed that with nothing to eat, he had left for somewhere. Only after the shooting did his story come to light.

North Korean soldiers
North Korean soldiers seen walking near Namyang, North Hamgyong Province. / Image: Daily NK

No longer able to deal with his gradually worsening household finances, the man had recently travelled to China to meet a relative, avoiding detection by the Ministry of State Security and border patrol. On his return, however, he was shot and killed.

The border patrol reportedly discovered his body the next day, fishing it out and then cremating it. Then they turned over the remains to the family through the Ministry of State Security.

The ministry was reportedly high-handed with the family when turning over the remains, telling them that the cremation was in accordance with the “state’s highest emergency quarantine system” and that they “should accept this without complaint.”

The family was reportedly in no position to complain as the man had “engaged in treason by violating state quarantine policy in going to China.” The family also had to grieve in silence, with no sounds of tears emerging from their home. 

Meanwhile, news of the incident spread rapidly because many Hoeryong residents witnessed the border patrol fishing the body out of the Tumen River on Oct. 2. The source said locals are keeping quiet, calling the shooting a “grave incident” and encouraging one another to be careful.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Lee Sang Yong is editor-in-chief of Daily NK and previously spent a number of years working as one of the publication’s foreign correspondents in China. He can be reached at dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.