A North Korean man defected to South Korea on Thursday, using a small wooden boat in a rare and risky crossing of the heavily patrolled maritime border in the Yellow Sea, military officials said.
The man expressed his desire to defect after landing on the frontline South Korean island of Baengnyeong Island. Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed military officer as saying the ship was “half-submerged” by the time it reached the island.
“The man is under investigation by security authorities,” a spokesman for South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff told AFP.
Intentional defections by individuals in small boats are rare and dangerous given the tensions along the disputed maritime boundary which has seen bloody clashes in the past.
While hundreds of North Koreans flee their isolated homeland each year, most of them go to China and then to a third country, such as Thailand.