More than 600 North Korean defectors, who initially settled in South Korea, are on the verge of being deported from Canada while attempting to take refuge there, an informed source said Thursday.
The Canadian authorities accuse them of disguising themselves as those who just fled the communist nation, said the source from South Korean political circles.
They actually defected to the capitalist South and gained citizenship there, according to the source who is on a trip here after visiting Canada.
“The people with the nationality of South Korea, who fled North Korea, filed applications for a refugee status with the Canadian government. But their applications were rejected and they face deportation,” said the source.
Canada is known to be relatively lenient with North Korean defectors.
North Korean refugees have had an acceptance rate over 50 percent, peaking at 72 percent in 2010, according to data.
Alarmed by a continued growth in the number of asylum requests, however, Canadian officials have reportedly tightened screening of qualifications.
A South Korean embassy official in Canada said the two sides are in government-level consultations on the North Korean defector issue.
But the role of the South Korean government is limited as it is basically a matter between the Canadian authorities and those individuals who filed for fake refugee status, the official said. (Yonhap)