North Korea Replaces Guards, Fortifies Site Where Defector Made His Daring Escape

Earlier this week, we noted the incredible video footage from the tense Korean Demilitarized Zone depicting one North Korean soldier’s desperate dash into the South as his former comrades unleashed a hail of bullets.

United Nations Command released CCTV footage Tuesday of the 20-something-year-old suspected staff sergeant fleeing his desolate country, first in a jeep and then on foot, with North Korean soldiers in hot pursuit. The man crossed into South Korea at the Joint Security Area while his comrades chased after him, firing on him as he ran.

In response to the high-profile defection – marking the first time in recent years where a soldier actually made it across the heavily fortified border between the two Koreas - North Korea has reportedly replaced between 35 and 40 guards and soldiers who were guarding the border at the time of the defection. Meanwhile, it has also fortified the part of its border where the soldier crossed.

Meanwhile, South Korean and US soldiers have been decorated for their role in the defector’s rescue. The defector, who has not been named, was shot seven times during his escape attempt. Doctors who tended to the defector in the South reportedly pulled parasitic worms from his intestines and discovered he was suffering from a chronic liver infection.

The US and South Korean soldiers risked injury when they dragged the badly wounded soldier to safety.

A group of senior diplomats based in Seoul visited the JSA on Wednesday morning where they saw five North Korean workers digging a deep trench in the area where the soldier had dashed across the line after getting his jeep stuck in a small ditch, a member of the diplomatic delegation told Reuters.

In a photograph of the visit tweeted by Marc Knapper, the US ambassador to South Korea, North Korean workers could be seen using shovels to dig a deep trench on the North Korean side of the line as soldiers stood guard.



“The workers were being watched very closely by the KPA guards, not just the two in the photo, but others out of shot behind the building,” one anonymous diplomat told Reuters.

“We’re closely monitoring the North Korean military’s movement in the JSA,” a South Korean defense ministry official told reporters, without confirming the reduction in border guards. “There are limits as to what we can say about things we know."

One unusual detail from the photos taken by Knapper and other diplomats of soldiers guarding the area where workers were digging the trench showed them dressed in slightly different uniforms to the ones usually worn by North Korea’s JSA guards.

Two new trees had also been planted in the small space between the ditch and the line with the South, the diplomat told Reuters, in an apparent effort to make it more difficult for would-be defectors to drive across the border.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, U.S. Forces Korea said it had awarded its own JSA soldiers - three South Korean and three U.S. soldiers - the Army Commendation medal in recognition for their efforts in rescuing the defector.

The medals were personally handed out by USFK Commander Vincent Brooks in a ceremony on Thursday, according to USFK’s Facebook page.

The soldiers had been responsible for dragging the wounded North Korean soldier to safety in a daring rescue seen in security camera footage released by the United Nations Command earlier this week.

Pyongyang has not commented on the defection of its soldier, who is now in stable condition despite the numerous gunshot wounds to his arms and torso.

The young soldier, known only by his family name Oh, was described as a quiet, pleasant man who has nightmares about being returned to the North, according to his surgeon.

Despite the ordeal, Oh is incredibly lucky; unfortunately, any other soldiers planning a daring escape from the isolated North will need to find another vulnerability in the world’s most heavily armed border.


38BWD22 Deathrips Fri, 11/24/2017 - 16:04 Permalink

  RIPS, with respect, consider the following:1)  I have seen very few videos of people being shot while fleeing American cops.  Maybe many of those who are shot have been doing something criminal?  Or putting innocents in danger?2)  America has a population of some 320,000,000.  N. Korea some 25,000,000.  I suggest to you that well over 10 times as many people per capita are SHOT in N. Korea by the cops (and other authorities) than here.3)  Who flees their country, again per capita, more?  North Koreans or Americans?4)  How many North Koreans make videos of people getting killed there? [I gave up giving out reds when I gave up my other major vice, so not my down arrow] 

In reply to by Deathrips

Deathrips 38BWD22 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 16:49 Permalink

DochenYou got a green from me. Always appreciate the discourse.I hear ya, however before we think about killing people for killing people outside of america..we should focus on border security and internal sustainability/balance. The world is not our territory. NK is one of the few remaining countries without a rothschild central bank. The thing with NK is it is being used as psyops to garner support for more bankers wars. I am against that.My comparison is that the american killed fleeing the police and the north korean shot here are both fleeing the state. While some criminals have it coming others do not. Statistically you are more likely to be killed by police than a terrorist in america. If the terrorists in america are more than cia FFs, the numbers are even more disproportionate. If one doesnt follow the laws in america they are shot for non compliance. If one doesnt follow the laws in NK...they are shot for non compliance. I take issue with oppressive governments....not countries the television would tell me to kill to save. Hope perus nice. I love it down there. RIPS

In reply to by 38BWD22

38BWD22 Deathrips Fri, 11/24/2017 - 16:53 Permalink

  "I hear ya, however before we think about killing people for killing people outside of america..we should focus on border security and internal sustainability/balance."Yup.Also agree with staying out of other countries' business.  You would think we'd have learned by now (hey, I'm a slow student, and even I know that). EDIT: down here on business.  For the first time in a while, not so nice.  We're firing our accounting firm/systems engineers for incredible stupidity that has cost us a lot of money.  Normally I very much enjoy my Peru trips.  

In reply to by Deathrips

Deathrips 38BWD22 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 17:08 Permalink

+1Stoopid these days is not repeating televisions. Not having had a television for 15 years, i recognize the telivised programming as that which cant be logically explained that people get very emotional about.  I have a Vietnamese friend of over 20 years had dinner with her and her husband the other day, we had some other friends there. They were terrified of the north koreans. I asked when the north koreans had personally wronged them..they replied they had not been wronged. I asked if they knew how many Vietnamese were killed by invading allied forces in the Vietnam war, they did not. I informed them it was over 750,000 humans. So then i asked why they were soo afraid of the north this point my buddies jewish wife cuts in and says "stop it just stop it everyone knows how terrible the north korean government is". Rather than alienate some long time friends...i changed the subject. People and televisions = virtue validated righteousness from the programmed and threat to the thinking. As far as comment above of popeyes belly vs parasite belly. Theres a bread line SNAP hidden of over 60 million in america. I am forced to pay for that by government. Not that i would not gladly help someone in true need, but this shit is beyond rediculous. I guess for the greater good of communism america needs to take another 20 trillion in debt....The national debt in NK is 20 billion/25 million. America 20 trillion plus / 320 million. Divided per capita...whos getting fucked by socialism Things that make you go hmmm. RIPS EDIT- Bummer on the turbulence in peru. I would gather that the good news is your organization has a great captain who will right the course accordingly. Cheers

In reply to by 38BWD22

Antifaschistische FORD_FIESTA Fri, 11/24/2017 - 17:34 Permalink

Two thoughts:1) sad when your entire country is actually a maximum security prison...because you know EVERYONE would leave if they had the chance.2) cudo's to the strong dude that drug that guy like he was a 4 year old.  It is not easy dragging a body like that...and that soldier was doing it with one arm while on his knees.  cudo's.

In reply to by FORD_FIESTA

WorkingPoor Fri, 11/24/2017 - 14:47 Permalink

The only guys that go into that border are probably ginseng hunters. Which sounds improbable, but ginseng might as well be a precious metal over there.

Yen Cross Fri, 11/24/2017 - 15:15 Permalink

lol.  Are the Norks going to start feeding their troops? The more they try to escape, the more the rest of the world is going to notice. That's not good for Dim Sum Chopsticks Jr.

VZ58 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 16:40 Permalink

Communism and socialism always need armed guards to keep their own people inside ie: Cuba, NK, the old Eastern Bloc countries and Soviet Union, China etc... Wonder why that is? Ask your college age SJW Bernie supporter sometime...

Lazarus Syndrome Fri, 11/24/2017 - 18:59 Permalink

Looks like a prisoners dilemma kind of scenario - the DPRK guards shooting at the defector would probably have done better for themselves dropping their guns and running with him.The DPRK guards are probably in a "reducation camp" right now at best, at worst they are already pushing up daisies having "allowed" or failed to prevent the desertion.  Sucks for all involved, hope the deserter doesnt have any family as the DPRK will take care of them; a shitty situation but not my problem, I wish the deserter and any potential family remaining in the DPRK well.

Boris Gudonov Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

It couldn't be REAL socialist if it failed, though, right? /sarc  Actually Newsweek told me last week that North Korea is actually a "right wing" dictatorship.  LOL 

ZeroLounger Fri, 11/24/2017 - 20:46 Permalink

I made a comment a while back about how the soldiers must be shitting their pants looking at the bombers fly by and the cruisers sitting off the coastline.  This guy deserting is clear evidence that the North Koreans know the shit's getting real, and they're sweating, big time.