A second group, as yet an unspecified number, of North Koreans working at a restaurant outside North Korea have escaped their workplace and will come to South Korea, South Korean officials said Tuesday.
The announcement follows earlier South Korean media reports that two or three female employees at a North Korean-run restaurant in China fled and went to an unidentified Southeast Asian country.
It’s the second known group escape by North Korean restaurant workers dispatched abroad in recent weeks. In April, a group of 13 North Koreans who had worked at a North Korean-run restaurant in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo defected to South Korea. After the 13 workers – a male manager and 12 waitresses – arrived in Seoul in April, Pyongyang claimed they were kidnapped by South Korean spies and repeatedly demanded their return. South Korea said the workers chose to resettle in the South on their own.
New Focus, a Seoul-based online news outlet run by a North Korean defector, was among the first to break the news Monday. It said the group comprised three women in their 20s who had worked at a North Korean-run restaurant near Shanghai.