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Number of N. Korean defectors drops: data

All Headlines 09:02 October 15, 2017

SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- The number of North Koreans defecting to South Korea fell 15 percent in the first nine months of this year from the same period in 2016, government data showed Sunday.

A total of 881 North Koreans settled in the South after defecting from their impoverished nation from January to September, according to the Unification Ministry which handles inter-Korean affairs.

It marks a 14.9-percent decrease from 1,036 recorded a year earlier.

The fall came amid reports that the Kim Jong-un regime has tightened surveillance and border security.

The number of North Korean defectors to the South reached 2,706 and dropped to 1,502 in 2012. It rebounded to 1,418 in 2016 but declined again this year.

Kim, reportedly in his early 30s, took the helm of the communist nation in late 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jong-il.

A total of 31,093 North Korean defectors were registered with the ministry as of the end of September. Among them, 22,135, or 71 percent, are women.

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