North Korean defector wants to go home but facing possible arrest

A North Korean defector who has demanded repatriation to her homeland, claiming she was tricked by a defection broker and came to South Korea by mistake, is once again in danger of arrest.

The Daegu Metropolitan Police Agency’s security investigation team is currently investigating Kim Ryon-hui, 48. Kim is being charged with posting materials praising the North Korean regime on her Facebook page in April 2016, including a video commemorating the Day of the Sun (a holiday celebrating the birthday of North Korean founding leader Kim Il-sung) and a song cheering for Kim.

Police are also charging Kim in connection with statements she made in a 2015 interview with the Hankyoreh. Her Feb. 2016 visit to the Vietnamese embassy in South Korea to demand to be sent to North Korea is also being seen as a National Security Law violation.

“Kim’s remarks are something we are obliged to investigate according to domestic law,” a police source said. “We are considering an arrest warrant request because we have sent three summonses to Kim as of June 13 demanding that she appear, and she has refused all of them,” the source added.

In Apr. 2015, Kim received a two-year jail sentence suspended for three years for making a telephone call to a North Korean consulate in China, which is considered meeting or communicating with North Korea according to the National Security Law. Kim claims that at the time that she was trying to alert North Korea to her detention and request rescue were not accepted by the court.

Kim has demanded her own repatriation. The Ministry of Unification maintains that Kim’s repatriation is not allowed by domestic law.

[Hankyoreh]

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