A North Korean soldier took his life in his hands last week when he decided to defect across the border with South Korea. In a video released by South Korea Tuesday, the soldier can be seen driving and then running for his life as his fellow soldiers try to shoot him. From Fox News:
At a live TV briefing, the command released dramatic video showing the unidentified soldier speeding down a tree-lined road past shocked North Korean soldiers, who begin to run after him. He crashes the jeep near the line that divides North and South in the so-called “truce village” of Panmunjom, where North and South Korean soldiers face each other at their closest distance just feet away.
Soldiers from the North sprint to the area, firing their weapons at the defector; one hurries across the dividing line before running back to the northern side. South Korean soldiers then crawl up to the defector, who has fallen injured in a mass of leaves against a small wall. They drag him to safety as North Korean troops gather on their side of the line…
U.S. Army Col. Chad G. Carroll, a spokesman for the U.N. command, said the North violated the armistice by “one, firing weapons across the MDL, and two, by actually crossing the MDL temporarily,” referring to the military demarcation line that bisects the Koreas.
The defector was shot five times and was on a breathing machine for a while, but after two surgeries he has regained consciousness and is expected to survive. Here’s a shortened version of the escape (if you want to see more there’s a complete video here):
Why would a defector risk being shot by his own fellow soldiers to escape? Last week, Fox had a report on the treatment of the defector. South Korean doctors were shocked to find dozens of parasites living inside his body:
Lee Cook-jong, the defector’s lead surgeon, showed photos of the parasitic worms, including an 11-inch long worm found in the man’s digestive tract.
“In my over 20 year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” Lee told reporters.
There are photos at the link above if you really want to be grossed out the day before Thanksgiving. There was a story at the BBC yesterday about treatment of women in the North Korean military which apparently includes frequent rape by male superior officers. In short, conditions are so bad that it’s amazing more people aren’t risking their lives to escape.