Recently, there has been an influx of North Korean escapees in South Korean media. They mostly share their experiences in their former country. A North Korean escapee, Kim Jun Hyuk, bravely shared how he managed to escape his life in North Korea.
Jun Hyuk was thankfully from the upper classes, which meant he did not suffer as much. He also had access to education and even was privileged enough to study abroad in China. Back in 2011, when he was studying in China, he received news of Kim Jung Il‘s death. Kim Jung Il was the former patriarch of the nation.
He had been in a secret literary society made of North Koreans studying in China. They supported democracy and often read banned literature. Upon hearing the news, they rejoiced and went to a cocktail bar near the North Korean embassy in China to celebrate.
Unfortunately, they were ratted out by spies and word got back to officials that the students had a celebratory party for Kim Jung Il’s death.
A student in Tianjin was caught first and the other members of the literary society knew that they only had a matter of weeks before they would get in trouble too. The student had been found with a banned book in his bag.
The student that had gotten caught was hauled off and Jun Hyuk did not hear from him again. Just a few weeks later, government officials called Jun Hyuk up.
They told him that his visa needed to be renewed and asked him to make his way to the embassy. Thankfully, Jun Hyuk was smarter than that. He had just renewed his visa two weeks ago and sensed something was wrong. With that sharp shrewdness, he had also not reported his new dorm address to the embassy after he had moved a few weeks prior.
Jun Hyuk escaped to the nearest Korean community town and reached an internet cafe he frequented as a student. The owner of the internet cafe was South Korean and Jun Hyuk begged him for help. The owner let him stay for a few days and hid him.
He stayed there for three weeks as he planned his escape. With some calls made to the South Korean team that helps escapees, he received instruction to go to the airport in China alone. When he got there, there were many North Korean security agents disguised in normal clothing.
As he panicked near the check-in, a group of South Korean tourists suddenly enveloped him and grabbed his hand. They whispered that they were here to help Jun Hyuk and told him to hide amongst the “tourists” for a group check-in.
With that, he managed to avoid detection from North Korean officials and managed to escape to South Korea for safety. Watch him recount the story below.