Approximately 30 North Korean defectors have been arrested by Chinese public security officials in the city of Shenyang and are facing repatriation. Three groups of defectors totaling approximately 30 individuals, including children under the age of five, were arrested while in transit from Shenyang (China) to Vietnam. They have been transported to the border city of Dandong, and are likely to be repatriated to North Korea soon, a source close to North Korean affairs in China reported to Daily NK.
“North Korea’s State Security Department [SSD] is exchanging gold produced at state-run mines in the border area to the Chinese authorities in return for the repatriation of defectors. … Leaflets and placards have been posted in Chinese cities advertising rewards for reporting defectors to the police. This has made it more difficult for defectors to hide,” the source added.
In addition, the North Korean authorities have recently announced a domestic ‘reward system’ in order to prevent defection attempts before they occur. Security agents have informed residents in North Hamgyong Province that the reward for reporting a planned defection is 5 million KPW (approximately 600 USD).
Due to this new policy, the number of residents attempting defection in North Korea has reportedly plummeted. “With the severe crackdowns, no one is bold enough to attempt defection. The brokers that normally aid defectors are saying, “It is hard to make a living because no one wants to defect anymore,” the source concluded.