Repatriated Fishermen Facing Hard Times

27 North Korean fishermen are still waiting for North Korea to accept them at Panmunjeom. The South planned to repatriate them at 11AM; however, there has been no response from North Korea, and so they have been waiting there ever since.

The 27 are those of 31 North Koreans who drifted across the Northern Limit Line in early February who have expressed the desire to be repatriated.

Upon their eventual repatriation, the 27 North Koreans are likely to face interrogation by the National Security Agency about their reasons for crossing the border, plus how the South interrogated them and about what.

One defector who used to work as an NSA agent explained, “The NSA will accuse them of responsibility for the defection of the other four, demanding to know why they didn’t persuade them otherwise,” adding, “There must be at least one Party cell secretary among the 31. Those people will definitely be targets for criticism.”

Such interrogations generally take around a month. After that, the repatriated individuals have to sign a written oath not to disclose what they have heard and seen in South Korea, and will then be allowed to return to their homes, in this case in Hwanghae Province.

Defectors unanimously agree that the fishermen will thereafter be closely monitored by agents of the NSA, People’s Safety Agency, and chairmen of their local people’s unit on the basis that the authorities think they could cause ideological unrest after being exposed to South Korean society.

One former high North Korean official told The Daily NK, “Even though they

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