The number of North Koreans entering Thailand illegally has surged in recent months as increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula inspire people to escape the hermit state.
In all of 2016, 535 North Korean defectors arrived in Thailand. But in just the first six months of this year saw 385 arrivals, according to data from the country’s immigration bureau.
One immigration official said: “An average of 20 to 30 North Koreans arrive each week now in northern Thailand alone.”
Roongroj Tannawut, a district official of Chiang Khong district in northern Thailand, said: “The North Koreans come to Thailand to get arrested so they will get an asylum to South Korea.”
After being arrested, most North Koreans are sent to an immigration detention center in Bangkok before being deported, usually to South Korea.
Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, said: “Since the South Korean constitution recognizes all Koreans as its citizens, it is possible for Thailand to recognize South Korea as a legitimate destination to deport North Koreans.”
This entry was posted in North Korean refugee by Grant Montgomery.