Arrest Images of AWOL N. Korean Soldier Revealed

Lee Sang Yong  |  2015-03-23 12:49

Chinese security forces apprehend one of the two North Korean soldiers who deserted
their posts and fled to China. Image: Daily NK

Daily NK obtained images from a local source on Sunday of officials arresting a North Korean solider who escaped to Dandong, China last week from Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province. The photographs were taken during an arrest carried out by armed Chinese soldiers of the one of two escapees who reportedly went AWOL last Tuesday in the early morning hours. The captured border patrol guard from the North was said to be armed at the time. 

The image was taken at a small village sitting opposite of North Koreas Hwanggumpyong on Thursday and shows the defector being apprehended and taken away by Chinese soldiers. The escapee was said to have held a Chinese woman hostage on site but was eventually subdued. 

The solider dragged the hostage up to the rooftop and tried to hold out to the very end, the source in Dandong reported. But some 100 Chinese security officials and soldiers armed with guns conducted a swift operation and the solider was soon overpowered, he said, describing how the event unfolded. 

He added, As the Chinese soldiers were dragging him off, they shouted at the residents who had come out to watch to go back inside, but other than that there were no sounds of gunshots and the situation did not further escalate."

There is no news so far on the other solider that escaped along with the apprehended guard. As of now, there are no armed Chinese soldiers in sight, and searches are no longer taking place at train stations, the source said. This lends weight to the assumption that the other solider has been captured as well."

The recent incident of two lower-ranking soldiers fleeing to the border city of Dandong in China has led many to believe military discipline of the border guards has greatly diminished.

"Rigorous verification of loyalty to the state is carried out when selecting border patrol guards, so to have lower-ranking soldiers go AWOL with their weapons signals just how poor their discipline has become, an ex-military North Korean defector told Daily NK. It likely means rations were not being handed out properly or that they defected due to conflicts with senior soldiers."

The source, however, explained that many other factors may have contributed to their decision to escape. The younger generation has been exposed a lot to [illegal according to North Korean penal code] South Korean or foreign movies, so there is a strong desire to leave the country. In a lot of cases, they end up traversing the border not to defect, but rather from an inability to subdue the desire to cross over and set foot in Chinese territory," he said, pointing out that the incident reveals further cracks in North Korea's perennial attempts to promulgate its "superior system" to residents, who are increasingly unwilling to believe in it.

More images of the North Korean solider after his apprehension by Chinese police on
 March 19th. Image: Daily NK

*Translated by Jiyeon Lee

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