Dramatic video: North Korean soldier defects to the South

As you surely have heard, eleven days ago a North Korean soldier defected to the south, driving a jeep up to the DMZ between North and South Korea, jumping out when it ran into a ditch, and then sprinting for the South, successfully crossing the border but also getting shot five times by DPRK soldiers. Those soldiers violated the North/South agreements by shooting at someone who was actually in South Korea, and by one DPRK soldier actually crossing the line. I thought the defector was surely killed, but two South Korean soldiers, at severe risk to their own lives, crawled up to the defector and dragged his body away. After operations and medical care, he’s now expected to live. It was also reported that he was severely infected with worms, probably due to infected food or water (if soldiers are, then many North Koreans must be, too). He also had hepatitis B.

As the Washington Post reports (video below):

In the dramatic footage, the soldier’s vehicle is seen driving along a road in North Korea and across what is known as the “72-hour Bridge” before barreling through the Joint Security Area, the only part of the DMZ where North and South Korean soldiers face each other.

However, the jeep got stuck in a ditch and the soldier jumped out and started running toward the South. Four other North Korean soldiers are seen running toward him and stopping to shoot at him.

One of the North Korean soldiers briefly crosses the military demarcation line that runs through the DMZ, marking the border, before returning to the north side of the security area. This constitutes a violation of the armistice agreement that the two sides signed when fighting ended in the Korean War in 1953.

The North Korean man can then be seen in a pile of leaves against a building on the southern side of the line, and then three South Korean soldiers can be seen going in to rescue him.

After that, the North Korean was flownd in a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter to Anjou Hospital south of Seoul, known for having one of the best trauma centers in South Korea.

Here is dramatic video released by the UN. The defector hightails it for the border past checkpoints, while the DPRK soldiers muster to intercept him (“KPA” is the North Korean Army). At about 2:58 he ditches the jeep and runs for it while his pursuers start firing at him, one actually crossing the line in pursuit.  “ROK JSA” troops are South Korean soldiers who monitor the Joint Security Area (JSA), the only place where North Korean and South Korean soldiers are within a few feet of each other.

The ROK troops, shown by thermal imaging, crawl toward the wounded man (a light horizontal line on the ground) and drat him away at about 6:10. They are brave men, because even though they’re in the South, they could still be shot.

This is ineffably sad. First, there’s an entire people walled in, as were the East Germans, and their own soldiers trying to kill them when they try to escape. (If they didn’t, the pursuers would be punished, and I’ve already heard they’ve been “relieved”.) A lifetime of indoctrination would have given the DPRK soldiers no compunction about killing one of their own.

What’s equally sad is that we know for sure that if this escapee had any family remaining in North Korea, they’d be rounded up and sent to prison camps, where they’d almost certainly die. The choice that any escapee has to make is whether to stay in the horrible conditions of the North or flee, with the certainty that if he survives, his family will all die, including his parents, kids, and grandparents (that’s the DPRK’s “three generation” rule).

Without a doubt North Korea is the most horrible nation on Earth, and this video demonstrates that. I’m glad the soldier survived, but imagine the mental anguish he’ll have knowing that, if he had parents or kids or a wife, they’d all be sent to the death camps.

If you want to see the perils of fleeing the DPRK, here’s an informative video of “10 ways to escape North Korea”. None of them are easy.


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I understand some of the parasites found in this guy and many others from the north is due to the wide spread use of human fertilizer. And this is due to the lack of commercial fertilizers in NK. Not long ago several North Korean fishermen came ashore on Japan, possibly due to the breakdown of the boat. So that might be another way out. Also there is always dying. That is how most will get out.

  2. Posted November 24, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Cue the apologists in three, two,…

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    As a longtime resident of South Florida, I’m well-familiar with the desperate measures people will take to escape despotic regimes (including the communist autocracy 90 miles from where I sit).

  4. Vaal
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    That 10 Ways To Escape North Korea video!

    It had me in a rage. It’s just unbelievable what that diabolically selfish little f#cker is doing to his people. As Sam Harris put it, it’s like an ongoing hostage crises for the people of an entire country.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there is nothing like it anywhere. Back in the Berlin Wall days is the only thing close and it was still a picknik compared to NK. When you are in South Korea the fact of the North is always with you. South Korea has come so far it is not possible to explain. I first when there in 1983 and last was there in the mid 90s. In just ten or twelve years the difference was amazing. Much of the north is still like 1950s.

  5. Jeff Rankin
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I always liked what Hitchens had to say after visiting NK – something to the effect of –

    “…They won’t make me mention it. They won’t make me mention ‘1984’. But they make you…”

    To read more stories of escape from this thanatocracy (again, as Hitchens calls it) I highly recommend Barbara Demick’s “Nothing to Envy”.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I am glad that bold fellow made it. I suspect there will soon be a half dozen road blocks on the route he took.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      I am surprised Trump has not mentioned a wall. The DMZ which is the area he was driving thru is about 2.5 miles or 4 Kilometers wide. Attempting this right there around Panmunjon probably surprised them as no one would attempt it there.

  7. Blue
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    This — ALL of … … before him, him, then
    the aftermath for any who knew of him back in
    North Korea — is heartbreak.

    The inhumanity boggles and breaks hearts.


  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    The thought of so many people not just in a physical prison, but a prison of the mind too, is so sad. They’re all brainwashed to hate USians. The recent CNN report on North Korea had otherwise normal (if undernourished) kids wanting to kill USians.

    They believe that the US started the war against North Korea, and all sorts of stories about mass slaughter by USians. (There’s a good YouTube video about it, but I couldn’t find it in a hurry.)

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Another really sad thing about all of this is the average North Korean soldier is poorly trained and supplied, if they had to go to war if would be pretty bad. The south Korean soldier, the ROK is one of the toughest in the world. Not like 1950 at all.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Yeah. This soldier who escaped must be one of the elite if he managed to be assigned as a border guard, and look at the state of his health! Absolutely appalling.

        The average North Korean is about 2 inches shorter than the average South Korean I think, though I’ve read some claiming it’s as much as six inches. Whatever it it, the difference is likely increasing.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted November 24, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          One of the things I will always remember about South Koreans – they are some of the best business men and women you will find anywhere. To provide an example – we had about 50 military installations in South Korea, maybe now, 25. The managers at all of our facilities except one were Korea locals. Nowhere else in the world did we have local managers like South Korea. They were excellent.

        • Posted November 24, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          I heard on the news today that the soldier has tuberculosis as well as worms and Hep-B. Jebus!

  9. Norbert Francis
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    We might even see it one day. It’s a matter of time. Just like the East Germans, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Taiwan, Hungary, Romania….Communist tyranny does not last forever. Something to look forward to and be optimistic about.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      It is all in the hands of China. If they want the North Koreans to change, it will happen.

    • somer
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      If anything China is getting more authoritarian under President Xi

  10. Dale Franzwa
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    I wonder what Dennis Rodman, former Chicago Bulls basketball player and close friend of dictator Kim, thinks about all this? Bet he’s keeping his mouth shut wherever he is at the moment.

  11. Moregain
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Perhaps when kids (university students) want to kick off about, e.g. people wearing sombreros and big black moustaches at a fun social event or a statue of Rhodes in an Oxford college they should consider the lives others lead and find something more important to make a fuss about. Reading this article, without a trigger warning, might just do the trick. The lives other poor souls are forced to live must not be an excuse for not railing against attempts to deny us freedom of speech for example but we shouldn’t waste our efforts on the trivial and fatuous.
    I was going to apologise for any micro aggression in the above, but I won’t

    • Blue
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Always. Always, Moregain, thus is in the
      fore o’m’brain: “the lives other poor beings
      are forced to live.”

      For myself, .that. is a good thing.


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