Nine defectors are in danger of being sent back to North Korea after being caught in Vietnam and handed over to China last month, an activist group said. Among the North Korean defectors are an army captain and a one-year-old boy.
After fleeing the North in early October, they traveled from Shenyang to the town of Nanning on the Chinese border with Vietnam, according to the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights.
They crossed the border on Oct. 22 but were caught by Vietnamese police during a random check on a bus bound for Laos in Móng Cái, Vietnam. They were handed over to Chinese police in Dongxing, Guangxi, where they were detained until recently.
On Monday they were taken to Shenyang by train and transferred to a garrison in the border town of Tumen and are now facing repatriation to the North.
China used to repatriate all defectors that were caught there, but since last year it has mostly stopped. Now there are worries that improving ties between the two allies mean defectors will be sent back again.