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Seoul court hands N. Korean ‘re-defector’ prison term

Seoul court hands N. Korean ‘re-defector’ prison term

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Published : 2013-12-20 20:33
Updated : 2013-12-20 20:33

A Seoul court on Friday sentenced a North Korean defector with South Korean citizenship to three years and six months in prison for making an illegal trip to Pyongyang.

Kim Kwang-ho was found guilty of illegally entering North Korea, handing over confidential information to the communist regime and carrying out propaganda activities to praise Pyongyang, in breach of Seoul’s anti-communist National Security Law.

Kim first entered South Korea in November 2009 along with his fiancee via Laos and Thailand, three months after escaping his home country. He then obtained South Korean citizenship and gave birth to a daughter in Seoul, but his failure to adapt to life here prompted him to defect back to the North via China.

After the return, he appeared in a news conference at the North‘s state-run news agency earlier this year, blaming South Korea for allegedly luring him to Seoul.

Kim then handed over detailed information of 23 other N. Korean defectors along with detailed information about the routine investigations of newly arrived defectors conducted by Seoul’s intelligence agency to the North‘s spy agency.

Apparently also finding it hard to endure his life as a propaganda tool in Pyongyang, Kim again fled his home country with his family. Kim was arrested by the Chinese security police and sent to the South.

“The court deems that the defendant had expected to be investigated by the North’s spy agency despite his claim that he had not voluntarily handed over confidential information,” said Cho Yong-hyeong, a judge from the Seoul Central District Court.

The court further ruled that Kim is subject to legal punishment as he is a South Korean citizen, even though he was originally a North Korean defector.

The law bans South Korean citizens from making unauthorized trips to North Korea or praising, encouraging or propagandizing North Korean political ideas. (Yonhap News)

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