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South Korean Intel officials are investigating whether Lim Ji-hyun, a prominent defector from North Korea, has been kidnapped back to Pyongyang.

Lim Ji-hyun fled to South Korea in 2014, where she became a popular TV personality.

However, a woman resembling her appeared in a propaganda video in Pyongyang on July 16 – prompting speculation she may have been abducted.

In the video, Lim Ji-hyun says she was lured away and forced to slander North Korea.

The woman says that she voluntarily returned across the border.

Lim Ji-hyun had been a popular face on South Korean television, appearing on both talk shows and reality TV programs.

The South Korean authorities have not yet confirmed if the woman in the propaganda video is Lim Ji-hyun. However, they believe Lim Ji-hyun is back in North Korea.

The propaganda video was released on Youtube by the North Korean Uriminzokkiri website on July 16.

In the video, the woman introduces herself by another name, Jeon Hye-Sung.

The woman is shown in conversation with an interviewer and Kim Man-bok, another former defector who also returned to North Korea.

She says she was lured to South Korea by the “fantasy” that she could “eat well and make lots of money” and claims that she was forced into slandering her own country.

The woman describes how in South Korea everything was judged by money, how she was struggling to make ends meet and was asked to discredit North Korea on several TV shows.

She said she was now living back with her parents again after returning to North Korea last month.

“I felt really lonely in South Korea and I missed my parents,” she said in the video.

JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reports that the defector had thanked her fans as recently as April for a birthday party, calling it “possibly the happiest birthday of my life”.

Her fan club announced on July 16 it would shut.

The South Korean intelligence officials are investigating how Lim Ji-hyun might have re-entered North Korea.

Some North Korean defectors have speculated that Lim Ji-hyun may have been abducted on the China-North Korean border while attempting to smuggle out family members, the Korea Times reports.

Over the past decade, tens of thousands of North Koreans have defected from the authoritarian state into South Korea.

According to the unification ministry in Seoul, since 2012 only 25 returned.

Some North Korean defectors have described difficulties in adapting to life in South Korea – many miss their families in the North, or struggle to find suitable jobs.


A North Korean defector has entered the South Korean consulate in Hong Kong seeking asylum, the South China Morning Post reports.

The publication reported that the 18-year-old

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

defector participated in the International Mathematical Olympiad held in Hong Kong recently.

Police patrols around the area have been boosted and security stepped up.

China, which has authority over Hong Kong’s diplomatic issues, has reportedly been notified.

South Korea’s foreign ministry declined to comment, with an official saying the government’s position was not to make any comments related to defectors from Pyongyang.

Local media suggests the Hong Kong government is keen to avoid a similar outcome of a saga in 2013 where US whistle-blower Edward Snowden hid in a Hong Kong hotel before flying to Russia for temporary asylum.

Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the constitutional document of the territory, China has authority over diplomatic issues.

China usually sends back North Koreans found entering its territory illegally. South Korea usually takes in and rehabilitates North Koreans who escape.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry’s website says more than 29,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since the end of the Korean War.


A senior North Korean spy has defected to South Korea, South Korean officials confirm.

The officer has not been named, but the defense ministry in Seoul said he was a senior colonel in the Reconnaissance General Bureau and left in 2015.

Announcement of defection follows revelation that 13 North Koreans believed to have been working in China had also fled to South Korea. It was the largest group defection since North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, took power in late 2011. South Korean media reported that the restaurant is located in the eastern city of Ningbo.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a source as saying the colonel was seen as an elite among other defectors.North Korean spy defects to South Korea

The colonel worked for the North Korean military’s general reconnaissance bureau before defecting, according to Seoul’s defense ministry and unification ministry. Both ministries refused to provide further details including a motive for the defection.

The reconnaissance agency was believed to be behind two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang that killed 50 South Koreans in 2010.

There have been occasional reports of lower-level North Korean soldiers defecting but it is unusual for a colonel to flee to South Korea.

More than 29,000 people have fled North Korea since the end of the Korean War, but high level defections are rare.

Some more senior figures have also fled while working overseas.

Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said South Korea could not release further information on the colonel.

One unnamed official told Yonhap the man was the highest-level military official ever to have defected.

“He is believed to have stated details about the bureau’s operations against South Korea to the authorities here,” said the official.

The Reconnaissance General Bureau handles intelligence gathering and spying operations, as well as cyber warfare, said Yonhap.

The highest-level North Korean who took asylum in South Korea has been Hwang Jang-yop, a senior ruling Workers’ party official who once tutored Kim’s late dictator father, Kim Jong-il. His 1997 defection was hailed as a coup by many South Koreans and a clear sign that North Korea’s political system was inferior to the South’s.

Hwang Jang-yop died in 2010.


Kim Jong-un’s aunt, Ko Yong-suk has filed a defamation case against three North Korean defectors who “spread false stories” about her.

Ko Yong-suk claims the defectors – who fled to South Korea in the 1990s – lied about her having plastic surgery and managing a secret fund.

Her lawyer says she is seeking 60 million won ($51,600) in a South Korean court.

The move is unusual – ruling family members living outside North Korea tend to avoid the public eye.Kim Jong un aunt plastic surgery

The defectors appeared on talk shows and claimed that Ko Yong-suk used plastic surgery to hide after having Kim Jong-un’s half-brother expelled from North Korea, her lawyer said.

“These defectors who often make appearances on TV are not in a position to know about her directly and what they are saying is not true,” he told Reuters.

“She and her husband find it very unpleasant.”

Ko Yong-suk took asylum in the US with her husband in 1998. She took care of Kim Jong-un when he was a teenager studying in Switzerland, according to her lawyer.

It is not clear if she will appear in court.

Ko Yong-suk’s lawyer told AFP news agency: “I’m not 100% sure, but her husband indicated she could come.”

According to South Korea officials, a North Korean soldier has walked across one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders to defect to the South.

The solder, in his late teens, approached a South Korean guard post in north-eastern Hwacheon in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June, South Korea’s defense ministry said.

There was no exchange of fire and the soldier is now being held in custody.

It is extremely rare for defectors to walk across the DMZ. The last time it happened was in 2012.North Korea soldier DMZ

Most defectors cross over into China, then make their way through South East Asia and then into South Korea.

The DMZ is fortified with landmines and barbed wire and guarded by tens of thousands of troops on both side.

Hundreds of North Koreans flee poverty and a repressive regime at home each year.

In August 2014, two North Koreans swam across the Yellow Sea border to a South Korean island.

Of the nearly 28,000 North Koreans who have resettled in South Korea, most of them left the country through the border with China, and not through the DMZ.

This is because the 155 mile-long DMZ is heavily guarded, littered with anti-personnel landmines.

The last time a North Korean soldier defected through the wire fence was in October 2012, when a solider managed to cross undetected.

Recently, there has been increased activity by North Korean soldiers in the DMZ and some believe the North has been trying to make defections more difficult.