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N. Korean defectors in Shenyang receive threatening calls from police

North Korean defectors living in Shenyang, in China’s Liaoning Province, have been receiving phone calls from local Ministry of Public Security officials warning of forced repatriations to North Korea if they are caught traveling to South Korea, Daily NK has learned.

“Since last month, local Chinese police officers have been warning North Korean defectors not to travel to South Korea by using excessive and frightening language,” a source in China told Daily NK on Apr. 4, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This has been discouraging for defectors who dream of making it to South Korea.”

According to the source, police officers called defectors on a watch list and told them that “those who are caught trying to go to South Korea will be forcibly repatriated to North Korea with no exceptions, and those who are repatriated will be executed, so don’t even think about going.

This message is a stern warning, especially to defectors who have previously been arrested for attempting to travel to South Korea.

“Chinese police officers usually call defectors in their hometowns a few times a month to check in and make sure there are no problems,” the source said. “Recently, however, officers in Shenyang have been calling to warn defectors to keep their heads down because those caught going to South Korea will be repatriated and executed. Their message is meant to instill fear.”

On Mar. 28, a defector living in Shenyang picked up the phone to hear the following message: “Don’t even think about going to South Korea. You’ll be fine if you live a quiet life here, but if you’re caught going to South Korea, you’ll be repatriated immediately. I’m giving you a warning, so please listen to me carefully. If you don’t, you will regret it.

Another defector who had previously been arrested on his way to South Korea also received a phone call from an officer who said, “You were lucky to be released last time, but you won’t be lucky again. If you are sent back to North Korea, you will be executed, so stay home and don’t even think about going to South Korea.

This defector was caught by Chinese police while trying to go to South Korea and was sentenced to six months in prison. Since her release, the defector has experienced extreme emotional distress when she hears the phone or doorbell ring.

According to the source, the defector suffered considerable anxiety when he received the call from the police.

“For North Korean defectors, nothing is more terrifying than repatriation and execution,” the source explained. “This defector doesn’t know how to move forward after receiving such a frightening phone call in an already incredibly emotionally taxing situation.”

Translated by Audrey Gregg. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

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

Read in Korean

April 11, 2024 at 12:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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