Several North Korean defectors have recently been arrested in Dandong, China, by Chinese police and repatriated back to North Korea, according to sources close to the matter.
“Two laborers who were working at a metalworks company in Sinuiju were arrested by Chinese police. They were repatriated back to North Korea over the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge the day after they were questioned by the Chinese about their reasons for crossing into China,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on November 20.
A source with knowledge of the incident in China said, “They left the factory in Sinuiju because it had ceased operations and attempted to defect into China, but the attempt ultimately failed.”
“In the past, many defectors could avoid being caught if they hid from the police for a couple of days, but these days the Chinese police have strengthened their patrols and there are now fewer defections,” he added.
Another similar incident occurred some time later, said a separate source in China close to North Korean affairs. “A defector hid in a reed field near the mouth of the Yalu River for three days before trying to swim across to Langtou Port to reach Chinese territory, but was arrested by Chinese police in the process,” he said, adding that the man was sent back across the Sino-Korean Friendship bridge soon after being questioned by Chinese authorities.
The Chinese have strengthened patrols along the Sino-DPRK border and installed more surveillance equipment, which has made it more difficult for North Koreans to defect, the source said. ......