The North Korean soldier who bolted into South Korea amid a barrage of bullets confessed to criminal activities that caused another person’s death, South Korean media reported Tuesday.
“I committed a crime in North Korea that caused a death,” Oh Chong Song, the North Korean soldier who made international headlines last November when he was shot five times fleeing into the South, revealed during discussions with South Korea’s spy agency, according to the Dong-a Ilbo, which cites intelligence sources.
The Ministry of Unification could not confirm the report because the investigation, which is standard procedure for defectors, is still ongoing, but South Korean intelligence sources have reportedly leaked that Oh may have been involved in manslaughter, murder, or some sort of mishap.
One point of concern is that South Korean officials have noted that Oh’s testimony has a tendency to fluctuate with his mood, which could make his claims questionable.
If Oh is found to have committed a crime, specifically a violent crime, he may not receive the support that South Korea has traditionally offered to North Korean defectors. There is, however, no real risk of deportation as there is no extradition agreement between the North and the South.
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As Oh suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was suffering from parasitic infection and other illnesses at the time of his defection, he spent weeks in a South Korean hospital receiving treatment. The $60,000 bill was covered by the South Korean government and shouldered by the taxpayers.
The young North Korean soldier was one of four military men to defect last year. A total of 1,127 North Koreans fled to the South last year, the lowest figure since 2001.
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