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Offline thaiga

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N Korea Escapes Slashed Under Kim Jong-Un ♦ video
« on: May 22, 2015, 04:54:07 PM »
N Korea Escapes Slashed Under Kim Jong-Un

Reinforced barbed wire fencing and an increase in phone tapping is preventing people from making the hazardous journey to freedom.

Border security has been tightened since Kim Jong-Un came to power

The number of people escaping from North Korea has halved since Kim Jong-Un came to power, amid a crackdown on defections.

An increase in phone bugging and ramped-up border security has led to a sharp decline in the number of refugees fleeing the repressive communist country, experts say.

The increased risks have led brokers, who organise escapes, to double their charges to about $8,000 (£5,100) per person, which is beyond the reach of most North Koreans.

                               Reinforced barbed wire fencing has been installed to prevent escapes

Those who make the illegal crossing risk being shot, or repatriated and possibly tortured, according to a United Nations report published last year.

South Korean government data shows the annual number of defections rose steadily from the late 1990s when a devastating famine led starving North Koreans to flee into China in search of food.

                                                      WARNING VIDEO MIGHT SEEM GRAPHIC
North Korea Escapes Slashed Under Kim Jong-Un

It peaked in 2009, when 2,914 North Koreans arrived in the South - the biggest influx since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

But in Mr Kim's first year in power in 2012, just 1,502 North Koreans made it to the South - a 44% drop on the previous year.

Last year, the number fell further to 1,396.

Han Dong-ho, a research fellow at the government-run Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul, who regularly interviews defectors, said: "Intelligence has stepped up monitoring (of phone calls) on border passages, dampening brokers' activities.

                                                         WARNING VIDEO MIGHT SEEM GRAPHIC
The Defectors - Escapees From North Korea's Prison Camps

"The more dangerous, the more expensive.

"Many connections with brokers, which North Koreans call 'lines', have been lost."

The clampdown has coincided with a relaxation of economic restrictions by the government in Pyongyang, resulting in a slight improvement in the living standards for some people, and providing less reason to escape.

Sokeel Park of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), which works with defectors, said: "All things being equal, an improving economy in North Korea, especially in the northeast provinces, would also lead to a decline in defector numbers."

But he said a gradual improvement in living standards could not account for the dramatic fall in defections, and pointed to the tightened border security, including reinforced barbed wire fencing.

"Compared to 10 years ago the primary motivation for defection has gone from food, to freedom," he said.

Human rights activist and defector middleman Kim Yong-hwa said: "There are still many people who want to cross over to China and to South Korea, but the reality has changed."

Mr Kim, who says he has helped thousands of North Koreans flee the country over the last decade, has considered closing his business this year due to his network of brokers declining from about 60 to 20.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.