The man’s return has sparked controversy over the lives of North Korean defectors and the way they are treated in South Korea. According to a military official, the North Korean was seen as a “lower class” person who could barely make a living by working as a cleaner.
The government says the man received government assistance for housing and medical treatment, among other things. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that police in northern Seoul, who provided the man with security protection and other care, expressed concerns in June about a possible return to the North. Nothing was done due to lack of evidence.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry promised an investigation into the policy and better support for the defectors. Often defectors do not return to North Korea. Thirty cases have been recorded since 2012. About 33,800 North Koreans live in South Korea.
Same way back through a minefield
The man arrived in South Korea last year after crossing the heavily guarded demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. This area is full of mines. However, on Saturday, he returned via the same route. It is not clear how North Korea managed to evade the guards. This is still under investigation. Defectors usually travel to South Korea via another country.
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