Eerie footage of North Korean defector's six-hour underwater escape

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

Grainy TV footage shows a person who is believed to have defected from North Korea as they attempt to cross one of the world's most heavily guarded borders and enter South Korea.

In the 30-second video shown by South Korea's TV Chosun a dark figure can be seen passing under a road sign as bright lights flash.

It’s believed the man, wearing a diving suit and fins, swam for about six hours through the night to cross the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) and travelled more than three kilometres inside South Korean territory, according to Reuters.

A dark figure believed to be a North Korean defect crosses the DMZ into South Korean territory.
Grainy footage obtained by South Korean station TV Chosun shows a person believed to have defected from North Korea attempting to cross the DMZ into South Korean territory. Source: Reuters

The man then passed under a fence by climbing through a drainage tunnel that security forces had been unaware of, the report said.

The man was not noticed until about three hours after he came ashore, despite triggering alarms and appearing on surveillance cameras.

It took several more hours to track the man down and detain him. The delay in capture drew new criticism of border security after a similar publicly known case in November, when a North Korean man defected to the South via the eastern DMZ.

The incident is one of a series of failures by border troops reported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a branch of the South Korean military.

Defections across the DMZ have dropped since North Korea closed its border with China last year over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the footage released by TV Chosun.

with Reuters

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