Escape from a North Korean concentration camp

–A brief account byYong Kim, who escaped from a political prison camp in North Korea and after living as a refugee in China, 1 year later arrived safely in South Korea, via Mongolia

On September 28, I made a miraculous escape from [my concentration] camp of death on a coal train. I passed through various North Korean provinces, finally crossing the Tumen River in December [escaping into] China. I wandered in Yanji not knowing where to go in the strange Chinese land.

The sad fate of North Koreans in China as a poor homeless race came home to me. The women are sold for rape and forced into prostitution by Chinese and Korean-Chinese. Some women try to go back to North Korea with the money they earned to feed their families, only to be caught and imprisoned in police detention centers.

Pregnant women often suffer the most, as officers would kill the fetuses while in the womb by kicking the women’s belly. In the market in Yanji, you see North Korean children whose fingers have been cut off for stealing food.

There is a pecuniary reward for every North Korean defector captured, and the Korean-Chinese go all out searching for North Koreans in hiding, to hand them over to the Chinese police. The arrested North Koreans are strung together with a wire that is pierced through their noses. And in groups of fifty, these people are deported.

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