North Korean defector asks Myanmar to release her children
A North Korean woman
pleaded with Myanmar to release her two children, who are among a group of 19
North Korean defectors to be tried by Myanmar for illegal entry, news reports
said Tuesday, dpa reported.
The North Korean group, which includes four children, was arrested on December 2 in Tachilek, a town on the Myanmar-Thai border about 550 kilometres north-east of Yangon after they were forced to shift their boat route from Thailand to Myanmar, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.
After their departure from China's southern province of Yunnan, the group set out towards Thailand, travelling south along the Myanmar-Thai border, but their boat was forced off course.
"Two of them are my children, aged six and 15," said the woman, who had defected to South Korea earlier, in an interview with Radio Free Asia, an NGO broadcaster.
After she heard her children were arrested by Myanmar's authorities, she went to the border to meet her children. "But my requests to see my children were denied (by Myanmar authorities)."
She explained her children had fled North Korea with her mother and two sisters and arrived at China's northern border. "Then, my mother was arrested and deported back to North Korea, and two of my sisters were sold out to local brokers and have since been unheard of," she said.
South Korean NGOs and family members in South Korea are staging a humanitarian campaign to help the defectors, whose trial is expected to take place this week.
The North Koreans face either deportation back to China or Thailand or between six months and two years in prison.
Each year, hundreds of North Koreans attempt to flee the Stalinist state, usually entering a third country like Thailand as a passage towards their final destination, South Korea or the United States.