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(2nd LD) Defectors send anti-Pyongyang leaflets on N.K. founder's birth anniversary

All News 15:38 April 15, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with tally of pro-N.K. leaflets in South Korea in paras 10-11)

GIMPO, South Korea, April 15 (Yonhap) -- A group of North Korean defectors in South Korea on Saturday sent hundreds of thousands of anti-Pyongyang leaflets via helium balloons across the inter-Korean border in time for the 105th birth anniversary of the North's late founder Kim Il-sung.

The Fighters for Free North Korea said its members sent some 300,000 leaflets from a mountain in Gimpo, just west of Seoul, starting at 5 a.m., condemning the North Korean regime and its role in the assassination of leader Kim Jong-un's elder half brother, Kim Jong-nam, in February in Malaysia.

Besides the leaflets, the 10 gas-filled balloons also contained 2,000 one-dollar bills, 1,000 USB storage devices, 1,000 DVDs and 500 booklets, the group said.

Activists prepare to float helium balloons carrying anti-North Korea leaflets on a mountain in Gimpo, west of Seoul, on April 15, 2017. (Courtesy of the The Fighters for Free North Korea)

Large placards attached to the balloons featured photos of Kim Jong-un and Kim Jong-nam, which were titled "murderer" and "dead person," respectively.

The group said the leaflets contained all the details of the assassination of Kim Jong-nam which occurred at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, as well as criticism of the Pyongyang regime.

Photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) and his half brother Kim Jong-nam are titled "murderer" and "dead person," respectively. The photos were attached to giant balloons flown to the North on April 15, 2017. (Courtesy of the The Fighters for Free North Korea)

The leaflets slammed the Kim Jong-un regime for sticking to nuclear weapons and missiles despite its isolation in the international community and idolizing the late founder Kim Il-sung.

"We condemn dictator Kim Jong-un for persistently threatening the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the global society with nuclear weapons and missiles and murdering his half brother," group leader Park Sang-hak said.

The civic group regularly launches big balloons carrying such anti-Pyongyang leaflets in a campaign to spread dissenting messages in the reclusive country.

However, one of the 10 balloons fell in a South Korean apartment complex in Goyang, north of Seoul, at 6:30 a.m., police said, adding the complex was about 20 km away from the Gimpo mountain.

A pro-North Korean leaflet found in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, on April 15, 2017. It likens the North's founder Kim Il-sung to the sun, while celebrating his 105th birth anniversary. (Yonhap photo provided by reader)

On the other hand, more than 100 pro-Pyongyang leaflets apparently flown from the North were found in several locations in South Korea's border provinces on Saturday, according to police.

"The leaflets are believed to have been sent by the North early Saturday morning in celebration of the April 15 birth anniversary, dubbed the Day of the Sun," said a police officer.

A citizen in Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, found four leaflets containing celebratory messages for the 105th anniversary of Kim Il-sung's birth at a park at 7:30 a.m. and reported them to police.

The color-printed leaflets liken the late Kim to the sun, police said.

A similar pro-North Kroean leaflet was also found in Samcheok, a Gangwon Province city on the east coast, at around 9 a.m. A 46-year-old Seoul resident said he discovered the leaflet while staying at a resort house in Samcheok.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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