In order to avoid famine and the country’s repressive regime, many North Koreans have risked their lives trying to escape from the country.
While being able to defect from North Korea once is an impressive feat, this man actually managed to flee the country 3 times!
Kim Pil Ju recently shared his life story and the dramatic events that lead up to him being able to find a home in South Korea.
When he was a child, Pil Ju was raised in an orphanage after his mother was unable to look after him.
As they only received one meal a day, children often resorted to other means to try to find more food.
When he was just 12 years old, he witnessed the death of one of his friends, who died from starvation.
Eventually, his mother re-married and Pil Ju was able to live in his new stepfathers home, but after he was violently beaten, Pil Ju and his mother decided to escape to China.
By hitching a ride on a fishing boat across the Yalu River, Pil Ju and his mother were able to escape North Korea for the first time.
However, the Chinese border agents found them 6 months later. They were sent back to North Korea, where his mother was beaten and imprisoned.
Pil Ju was returned to his stepfather’s home, but he was determined to escape once more.
He once again escaped into China by crossing the frozen river, but he was spotted and captured shortly after crossing.
But the Chinese securities drove away, so he hid in the snow as the North Korean guards came to find him. He took the opportunity to sprint back into China.
Luckily, he was able to catch a taxi into a city on his 3rd attempt. He found his way into Seoul, and now Pil Ju wants to help other defectors adapt to living in South Korea.
As Kim Jong Un ramps up his military’s nuclear program and bombards its neighboring countries with threats of attack, North Koreans are defecting faster than ever.
Check out the full interview with Pil Ju on Asian Boss Below!