North Korea Has Reportedly Started Jailing Military Officers With Ties To Defectors

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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In the wake of the most recent high-profile defection at the DMZ, the rogue North Korean regime is now investigating and even jailing military officers with ties to known defectors, the Daily NK reports.

Oh Chong Song, reportedly the son of a ranking military officer, made a daring dash at the heavily-fortified inter-Korean border, first in a jeep and then on foot. The 24-year-old soldier was shot five times by his former comrades during his escape, but he survived. The defection, which occurred in the Joint Security Area where North Korean troops are handpicked for their loyalty, represents a major embarrassment for the regime.

The young soldier was the third North Korean soldier to defect this year. In the five years prior, there were only four military defections, according to CNN. North Korea reportedly views defectors from military families with greater enmity than other North Koreans who choose to leave.

“Currently, the authorities are interrogating soldiers known to have relatives who defected or who are suspected of having defected,” an inside source in North Hamgyong Province revealed to Daily NK reporters. “One military officer from the Ninth Corps was recently sent home from Pyongyang after one of his relatives defected. He was imprisoned as soon as he arrived.”

“A common saying now is that ‘no matter how well you do, everything can be brought down by the actions of a family member,'” the source explained, “Investigations have recently begun in the Ninth Corps, and some members have already been called before prosecutors.”

It is noteworthy that investigations are underway in the Ninth Corps, which replaced the Sixth Corps after its was disbanded in the 1990s for conspiring against the regime. The leadership, along with their families, were executed for their crimes against the state.

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