The Life of a North Korean Defector and His Family in South Korea

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The Life of a North Korean Defector and His Family in South Korea

Photographer: Jeon-Heon-Kyun

 

At dawn on 01 January 2009, a North Korean Lieutenant Colonel in Han Hong Geun (now aged 63) left the Bachelor Officer Quarters in Pyongyang, capital of DPRK, to escape. That night, he crossed Yalu River (Amnok River) and arrived at Kunming City, China, where he stayed for three days. He took the route south through China, all the way down to Laos, where he crossed the Mekong River to arrive at the Korean consulate office on 06 March 2009.

He finally reached South Korea in 2011. In the course of being investigated by the South Korean intelligence agency, all of his effects were confiscated. After the process, he was able to reunite with his family, who had also escaped from North Korea to settle in South Korea a year earlier, and he got a job in Seosan City in the midwestern part of Korean peninsula.

However, on 01 September 2013, he was in a car accident in which he almost lost his right arm and leg. After eight months of frustrating hospitalization, with a little help from acquaintances, he started the rehabilitation process and was able to return to the workplace he worked at before the accident.

Before escaping from North Korea, as a detached military officer to Kaesong Industrial Region he was able to have an opportunity to know what freedom is while he was witnessing the lives of South Korean workers. After almost 10 years in South Korea, he is satisfied that he sacrificed his 53 years, including his military career, of life in North Korea now that he and his family can enjoy the happiness of leading life in a free country.