1,500 N Koreans fled to South last year

January 14, 2014 - 6:38:03 am
SEOUL:  More than 1,500 North Koreans fled to South Korea last year, maintaining a recent fall in the number of escapees that coincided with a clampdown by new leader Kim Jong-Un.

Five years ago the annual number of escapees was close to 3,000, but the number dropped sharply after Kim came to power in December 2011, following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il.

The number of North Koreans fleeing to the South slumped to 1,502 in 2012, while last year the figure was slightly higher at 1,516, Seoul’s unification ministry said. 

Under Kim Jong-Un, the isolated state tightened border security and stepped up diplomatic campaigns to have refugees hiding in China repatriated. 

The majority of refugees secretly cross the border to China before travelling to a neighbouring Southeast Asian country.