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N. Korean defector in South crosses western sea border

All Headlines 07:52 April 04, 2013

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean defector who was living in South Korea crossed the tensely guarded western sea border on a fishing boat he stole, military officials said Thursday.

The 28-year-old man, only identified as his surname Lee, stole a 9-ton boat on the border island of Yeonpyeong at 10:49 p.m. on Wednesday and sailed across the maritime border called the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea.

"The ship was anchored at a port after being used for fishing during the daytime," a senior military official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. "The crab fisherman is seen to have illegally taken the ship at night."

By the time the South Korean Navy detected the ship approaching the NLL, it was already only 1 kilometer from the border, the military officials noted.

"The ship is seen to have made its approach near the radar's blind spot," the officials said.

Lee had fled his communist homeland and arrived in the South in March 2007, they noted. Lee is known to have fled North Korea on four occasions.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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