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ICC Note: A North Korean couple who escaped their country years ago have returned home but are now aiding the government to identify and arrest North Koreans who have ties to defectors in South Korea. More than 20 in Hyesan city have been arrested and will face harsh punishment. A source who knows the defector wife believes that difficulties adjusting to the South Korean society and financial debt might be the reasons behind the couple’s move. 

12/08/2017 North Korea (Radio Free Asia) – A North Korean man and woman who escaped their country separately and married later in South Korea have gone home and are helping state security agents identify and arrest citizens suspected of having contacts in the South, sources in both Koreas say.

More than 20 residents of Yanggang province’s Hyesan city have already been taken into custody based on information provided by the couple, a source in Yanggang told RFA’s Korean Service.

“Residents are terrified that the couple, called Sohn, may point out even more among them,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The defectors, who had previously settled down in South Korea, reentered North Korea at the end of October and returned to Hyesan city, where they are now living in an apartment assigned to them by state authorities, the source said.

“On their return, they gave an offering to the government of 500,000 Chinese yuan [U.S. $75,545] and reportedly provided information on other defectors’ identities and their activities in South Korea,” the source said.

“Those who were arrested because of the information the couple provided are defectors’ families or people who have been having telephone conversations with people in South Korea,” he said. “Because they are now suspected of association with South Korea, they will be punished harshly.”

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