Report: 1 in 10 North Korea prisoners attempted to flee to South

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (UPI) — About 1 in 10 inmates in North Korea‘s political prison camps are behind bars for attempting to flee to the South.

That was one of several findings from the Database Center For North Korean Human Rights’ biographical dictionary, local news service News 1 reported Monday.

The compilation from the South Korean NGO includes biographical sketches of 1,258 North Korean prisoners. Of that number, 10.5 percent were caught after failed attempts to defect to South Korea.

The report also states about 29 percent of those surveyed were being detained for guilt by association, or being kept in custody because of alleged wrongdoings of family members.

Other crimes include making anti-state complaints, crossing the border into China, engaging in religious activities, making contact with “the enemy” and smuggling contraband goods, according to Yonhap news agency.

The number of profiles in the dictionary represents a fraction of all political prisoners, who number between 80,000 and 120,000, according to U.S. estimates.

Some of North Korea’s most notorious prison camps are still in operation, including Kaechon internment camp No. 14 in South Pyongan Province, Yodok concentration camp No. 15 in South Hamgyong Province, Hwasong concentration camp No. 16 in North Hamgyong Province and Susong prison camp No. 25.

Hoeryong concentration camp No. 22 has been closed and Pukchang concentration camp No. 18 has been dismantled, according to the report.

A NKDB official said Monday the poor human rights situation in prison camps is “ongoing.”

In July, the U.S. Treasury Department named Kim Jong Un a human-rights offender, placing him alongside other top North Korean officials and entities on a list of Pyongyang’s worst human rights abusers.



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