A North Korean student trained in espionage and his younger sister have been apprehended in China while trying to escape and were recently repatriated. The two were caught in Jilin Province’s Changbai Korean Autonomous County by Chinese public security officers and were reportedly attempting to defect from North Korea.
“In China’s Changbai Korean Autonomous County, a male student of the Kim Jong Il University of Political and Military Science and his younger sister were arrested and sent back to North Korea,” said a Ryanggang Province source in a telephone call with Daily NK on March 8. “They were discovered to be brother and sister during a subsequent investigation by the Ryanggang Provincial office of the Ministry of State Security (MSS).”
“Before being taken in, wanted notices were sent out in the border regions of Ryanggang Province, including Hyesan City, Pochon County, and Samsu County. The notices displayed the student’s picture and also indicated his work experience, age, and other characteristics,” said the source.
“The authorities issued an order to the provincial offices of the (MSS) to apprehend the student. Subsequently, MSS agents went into China and sought the cooperation of Chinese security officers.”
The Kim Jong Il University of Political and Military Science trains professional espionage agents and commandos targeting the South. Admitted students are required to demonstrate both physical stamina and intellectual talent. The students are indoctrinated and trained in revolutionary history, as well as fundamental espionage skills like driving, shooting, photography, and hand-to-hand combat.
Because the student was trained in espionage tactics, he was assumed to be familiar with methods and techniques to survive extreme conditions and emergency scenarios. The training intensity is said to be 4 or 5 times more strenuous than the training that ordinary soldiers undergo.
The agents are trained to travel 40-80 kilometers within set periods of time. For maritime infiltration, agents are trained to free swim up to 8 kilometers.
The motive for why the student attempted to escape North Korea with his sister has not been confirmed.
But according to a separate source in Ryanggang Province, the student was expelled from school before graduation when it was discovered that he had family members living in South Korea. After being kicked out, the student was tailed and monitored by security officers, which was said to have caused him a great deal of stress.
“The student was trained to be able to evade capture and survive, but it seems that he was not willing to abandon his younger sister in order to escape," he said. "The student and his sister are currently being held by the Ryanggang Province MSS. Since he received such intensive training and is not considered a regular civilian, it is expected that he will be harshly punished."