Tag Archives: defector

North Korean defector who made a daring escape from a Chinese prison was recaptured by authorities after 40 days on the run


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Drugs, arms, and terror: A high-profile defector on Kim’s North Korea


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North Korean defector says ‘even North Korea was not this nuts’ after attending Ivy League school


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The Story of an Air Force Defector to Iran

The Story of an Air Force Defector to IranWitt was a member of the aircrew of an RC-135 Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft forward deployed from RAF Mildenhall in Great Britain.Former Tech. Sgt. Monica Elfriede Witt, a former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who had defected to Iran and who was charged with espionage on Feb. 13, 2019, served as an airborne crypto linguist on board a RC-135 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Military Times revealed.She earned the Air Medal as a result. The citation says she had “distinguished herself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight from March 29 to April 18.”In March 2003, then-Staff Sgt. Witt was serving as an airborne crypto linguist with the 95th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, 398th Air Expeditionary Group, out of Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Crete.The U.S. invaded Iraq on March 20, followed by three weeks of major combat operations.



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As Kim's car passes, North Korean defector cries and shouts

As Kim's car passes, North Korean defector cries and shoutsHANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A tearful North Korean defector shouted "Please, let me go back home!" as a black limousine carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un passed by her in Hanoi on Tuesday.



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Syrian government celebrated after targeting and killing journalist Marie Colvin, defector claims

Syrian government celebrated after targeting and killing journalist Marie Colvin, defector claimsThe Syrian government celebrated after they targeted and killed veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin, a former Syrian intelligence officer has claimed. Ms Colvin, an American journalist working for the Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed by rockets fired at a house they were staying at in the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs, western Syria, in 2012. British photographer Paul Conroy, French reporter Edith Bouvier, and Syrian interpreter Wael al-Omar were all wounded in the same attack. The claims were made by the officer in newly released court documents filed as part of a wrongful death suit by Ms Colvin's family. The former intelligence officer, code named Ulysses, provided a detailed account of how Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime sought to capture or kill journalists and activists in Homs, a centre of the pro-democratic revolution that erupted across the country in 2011. Photographer Remi Ochlik was also killed in the strike. Credit: AP The defector claimed that when Ms Colvin's death was confirmed, Syrian Maj. Gen. Rafiq Shahadah exclaimed: "Marie Colvin was a dog and now she's dead. Let the Americans help her now." His account appears to be corroborated by Syrian government documents filed as evidence in the case, which suggest the regime targeted her to silence her reporting on its atrocities. The defector claimed that as an intelligence officer, he reviewed intelligence and surveillance reports from around the country during 2011 and 2012 and was privy to open and secure communications. He currently lives legally in Europe because he fears he is wanted by Syrian intelligence officials. The lawsuit alleges that Syrian forces tracked Western journalists' movements and located their media centre so they could be captured or killed. President Bashar al-Assad’s government claimed after the attack that they had not known who was in the house, or that any of the journalists were in the country as they had entered “illegally”. Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, speaks with Syrian troops during his visit to the front line in Damascus. Credit: Syrian official news agency SANA However, the lawsuit alleges that Ms Colvin was in fact being tracked from neighbouring Lebanon after Syrian officials received information that she and Mr Conroy were planning to smuggle into the war-torn country. She was reporting on the Syrian government's bombing of residential areas when she was killed by a rocket attack on a media centre. The pair entered Homs through an underground water tunnel and toured a field hospital and a cellar called the "widow's basement" where mostly women and children sought shelter from the bombs. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, speaks with Marie Colvin during a service at St. Bride's Church in London. Credit: Getty As part of her reporting, Ms Colvin gave live interviews to the BBC and CNN. Syrian forces were "shelling with impunity and a merciless disregard for the civilians who simply cannot escape," she said. The highest levels of the Syrian government, including President Assad's brother, were behind the plan to track the journalist once she entered Syria, the lawsuit claims, using a mobile satellite interception device that could tap broadcast signals and locate their origin as well as an informant on the ground. As part of his testimony, the defector identified eight Syrian officials, including Mr Assad's brother Maher, who he claims were involved in the attack on the media center. Marie Colvin at St Bride's Church in London in 2012. Credit: Getty "The actual maliciousness that the Syrian regime had against Western reporters and their Syrian counterparts and sources is on display through multiple witnesses and multiple documents," said Scott Gilmore, the lawyer acting on behalf of Ms Colvin's family. Her sister Cathleen is seeking an undetermined amount for the emotional pain of losing her sister, compensatory damages for her three children, who are beneficiaries of Ms Colvin's estate, and punitive damages against the Syrian government. So far, the Syrian government has not filed any response to the lawsuit. At least 100 journalists, most of them Syrian, have been killed in the country since the conflict began in 2011. Ms Colvin’s killing came early on in the Syrian civil war, when, as the lawsuit claims, President Assad's regime was trying to silence local and international media "as part of its effort to crush political opposition". A veteran foreign correspondent, Ms Colvin had years of experience reporting in war zones. She covered conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, East Timor and Sri Lanka where she lost the sight in her left eye in a blast. The black patch she wore over her eye became her trademark.



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North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho never looked back – but some wish to return

North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho never looked back - but some wish to returnMore than 20 percent of the North Korean defectors who have made their way to safety in South Korea have contemplated returning to their homeland, according to a new study. The survey, conducted by the Database Centre for North Korean Human Rights and NK Social Research, showed that 22.9 percent of defectors have toyed with the idea of returning to the North. The defectors are not, however, primarily motivated by disillusionment with life in the South or ideological differences with capitalist society, the study found. More than 34 percent said they had considered returning to North Korea in order to be reunited with their families, while others cited nostalgia for their hometowns, Yonhap news reported. The struggles that defectors have faced in order to escape the oppressive regime in Pyongyang were highlighted in President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Monday evening, with the president singling out Ji Seong-ho. In numbers | North Korean defectors Mr Ji was among the guests of honour at the address in Washington, and brandished a pair of crutches fashioned in the North as he was applauded. Mr Ji, 35, fell from a train as he was scavenging for coal at the age of 14 and lost his left leg below he knee and his left hand at the wrist when the train rolled over his limbs. In in interview in 2012, he said the next time he goes to North Korea will be after reunification is achieved. Other North Korean defectors appear to be more impatient about returning, the NKDB report showed. "The result indicates that not a small number of North Korean defectors are grappling with difficulties in resettling in the South", the report concluded. "It highlights the importance of providing psychological support and stable human networks for North Korean defectors, as well as economic support". FAQ | North Korean defection As many as 300,000 North Koreans are estimated to have defected since the end of the Korean War in 1953, mostly through China or Russia. A total of 31,093 were registered with the Unification Ministry in Seoul in 2017, of whom 71 percent were women. According to the ministry, just 1,127 managed to escape the North last year, down 21 percent on the previous year and evidence of a crackdown on attempts to flee the regime. South Korea does not provide statistics on defectors who subsequently return to the North, but Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has begun a campaign to convince escapees to return. There are reports that defectors are being offered guarantees over their safety and that of their families, as well as £33,000 in cash to return. A number of those who have accepted the offer have later appeared on North Korean television and described in detail the misery of their lives in the South before pledging their allegiance to Mr Kim. 



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South Korea Trolls North With Loudspeakers Blaring News On Defector

South Korea Trolls North With Loudspeakers Blaring News On DefectorSouth Korea is reportedly using loudspeakers along its border with North Korea to broadcast updates on a deflecting soldier’s dramatic escape into the South.



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South Korea bombards North with propaganda about defector

South Korea bombards North with propaganda about defectorSouth Korea is bombarding North Korean troops stationed in the Demilitarised Zone with news about a compatriot who defected across the border. Large batteries of loudspeakers set up just to the south of the tense frontier are being used to inform the defector's former comrades that while he suffered serious injuries after being shot by fellow North Korean troops, he has undergone surgery in a South Korean hospital and is making a good recovery. The 24-year-old North Korean soldier, who has only been identified by his surname, Oh, received more than 3 gallons of blood in a series of transfusions – more than double the amount that is in the human body – and has expressed his gratitude to the South Korean people for saving his life, his doctor told media. As well as detailing the treatment Mr Oh has received since defecting, the broadcasts are highlighting the fact that North Korean troops fired around 40 shots at him in an effort to stop his escape  on November 13, Yohnap news reported. The broadcasts – which can be heard in villages several miles inside North Korea – are also commenting on the defector's general health. Inside North Korea At 5 feet and 6 inches, he is nearly half an inch taller than the average North Korean, although he weighs a mere 132 lbs. And despite being a member of the North's elite border guards, Mr Oh was found to be suffering from an infestation of parasitic worms, a chronic liver infection and hepatitis B. After an 11-year hiatus, South Korea resumed propaganda broadcasts across the DMZ in August 2015 after two members of a military patrol operating on the South Korean side of the frontier were maimed by a North Korean land mine. The aim is to undermine the morale of border guards and villagers living close to the border and encourage more people to defect. Incensed, North Korea has in the past threatened to target the loudspeakers with artillery fire. It also tries to drown out the broadcasts with its own loudspeakers playing military music.



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North Korea's wounded defector 'nice guy,' likes CSI: surgeon

North Korea's wounded defector 'nice guy,' likes CSI: surgeonBy Josh Smith and Heekyong Yang SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s latest defector, a young soldier known only by his family name Oh, is a quiet, pleasant man who has nightmares about being returned to the North, his surgeon said on Thursday. “He’s a pretty nice guy,” said lead surgeon John Cook-Jong Lee, who has been operating and caring for the 24-year-old. Oh has become a focus of worldwide attention after he was badly wounded by fellow North Korean soldiers as he scrambled across the border in the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South on Nov. 13.



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