HONG KONG, July 28 (UPI) — Security was increased Thursday at South Korea’s consulate in Hong Kong after a defector from North Korea sought refuge there.
The city’s uniformed, plainclothes and counter-terrorism units were deployed and observation posts were established around the consulate, which is on the fifth floor of a building on Harcourt Road in Hong Kong’s Admiralty area.
The person’s identity has not been revealed by the government, and newspapers speculate the defector has links to North Korea’s army, or is an academic who attended a conference and competition in Hong Kong two weeks ago.
A police van was seen repeatedly circling the building Wednesday evening, with plainclothes police on the ground floor, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.
Defection from North Korea is rare, but in April, the country’s state-run media reported 13 North Koreans, working in a restaurant in China, defected; the media said the 13 were tricked into defecting by South Korean spies.
Three North Koreans working in Malta — two restaurant employees and a construction worker — defected to South Korea on Thursday.