(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead with latest; ADDS more info throughout)
By Oh Seok-min
SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean man was taken into custody after crossing into South Korea via the eastern border, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday, amid a possibility that he could have sought to defect to the South.
The man, whose identity was withheld, was captured about 10 hours after he crossed the border in the eastern county of Goseong late Tuesday. His crossing was detected on the South's surveillance equipment, prompting the military to launch extensive search operations.
"Our military safely captured the man at around 9:50 a.m. In coordination with related authorities, we will carry out investigation into the man, including how he crossed the border and if he has the intention to defect to the South," the JCS said in a statement.
"No unusual moves by the North Korean military have been detected," the military added.
It is not immediately known if he is a soldier or a civilian, though officials said he did not wear a military uniform.
For the search operations, troops were placed on the "Jindogae" alert, which is issued to cope with a possible intrusion of armed guerrillas from North Korea, officials said, adding that the alert would be lifted later after analyzing the situation in front-line areas further.
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks
N. Korea's withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics dampens hope for renewing inter-Korean sports cooperation
Sino-U.S. tensions, tighter China-N.K. ties feared to weaken denuke efforts