North Korean Nuclear Scientist Commits Suicide After Defecting to China and Being Forced to Return

A North Korean nuclear scientist who defected to China while taking a break to deal with “anxiety over his research projects” committed suicide in a prison cell after being captured in China and sent back to North Korea, according to a source inside the hermit communist kingdom who spoke to Radio Free Asia.

“He killed himself only a few hours after he was placed in solitary confinement at the State Security Department in Sinuiju city,” the source said.

The scientist worked on research at the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang. He was one of several North Koreans caught in Shenyang, China, in early November. The group was sent back to North Korea on Nov. 17.

This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet and the Hero Defence Detachment on Mu Islet located in the southernmost part of the waters off the southwest front. (AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS/STR)

“He died before he could be questioned about the reasons for his escape, who had helped him, and what his route had been,” the source said.

The man took poison while in a prison cell.

“He must have been searched many times while being taken from China to Sinuiju, so it’s a mystery how he was able to conceal the poison he took,” the source said.

While in the hands of the Chinese authorities, the nuclear scientist never disclosed his identity, which may have been a fatal mistake, according to the source.

This picture taken and released on July 4, 2017 by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

“If the Chinese government had known who he was, they would have wanted to learn what he knew and would never have sent him back,” the source said. “He must have been searched many times while being taken from China to Sinuiju, so it’s a mystery how he was able to conceal the poison he took.”

According to the source, the man was in his 50s and took time off from work “because he was showing signs of anxiety over his research projects.” The scientist visited relatives near the border but did not have valid travel documents. When the scientist found out that authorities were looking for him, he fled.

The defector was identified in early December as Hyun Cheol Huh, according to the RFA source.

This undated picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sept. 2, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (front row C) attending a photo session with participants of the fourth conference of active secretaries of primary organisations of the youth league of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in Pyongyang. (AFP PHOTO / KCNA)

“But we don’t know if this was his real name or not,” he said. “Generally, State Security will use numbers or fake names when referring to important persons [in their custody],” he said.

2017 Year in Review

From NTD.tv

RECOMMENDED