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Defector seems to have swum across border to N. Korea from Gangwha Island

All News 11:31 July 27, 2020

SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean defector is believed to have swum across the border from the western island of Gwanghwa after going through a drain under barbed wire fences to evade South Korean border guards, military officials said Monday.

The border crossing by the 24-year-old man was made known after North Korea revealed Sunday that a "runaway" returned home in the border city of Kaesong with coronavirus symptoms and leader Kim Jong-un blocked off the entire city and implemented a state of emergency to prevent the virus from spreading.

South Korea's military came under fire for failing to detect the crossing.

"We spotted the specific location from which he fled to the North on Ganghwa Island, as a bag believed to belong to the man was found," JCS spokesperson Col. Kim Jun-rak told a regular briefing.

He appears to have passed through a drain under barbed wire fences to evade border guards, and the drain leads to the Yellow Sea, the officer said, apparently suggesting that the man swam back to his homeland.

This photo, provided by a Yonhap News Agency reader, shows a North Korean defector surnamed Kim who is suspected of having fled back to the North recently. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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