Beijing Police Arrest North Korean Defectors

By Jiang Xuanzheng, Central News Agency
October 12, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: October 12, 2007 12:00 am

SEOUL—Seven North Korean defectors attempted to enter the South Korea International School in Beijing on the afternoon of October 9, 2007 to seek asylum. Four of them were arrested.

According to Yonhap News Agency, witnesses described that four men and women, in their 20s, entered the school at 3 p.m. when students were finishing classes. Shortly after, another three women attempted to enter the school but were stopped by teachers at the school. They then gave up and left the school.

Those who made it into the school first hid in the bathroom but were forced to move to the fifth floor after Beijing police came and searched for them. All were captured at around 4 p.m.

Four officials from the South Korea consulate went to the scene but were not allowed to enter the school by Beijing police, who were said to have pushed them in the process. The police proclaimed, “This is China, not Korea.”

One of the officials said, “It's a big surprise that Beijing police ignored us and entered the school to arrest the defectors.”

North Korean refugees, who suffer from famine and then escape to China by crossing the Yalu and Tumen rivers, usually choose entering consulates or schools to reach South Korea. But Chinese authorities, who control the border and have a return agreement with North Korea, arrest them and send them back to North Korea.

The North Korean defectors face such a situation.