Through minefields and a stormy sea.
This is how Kim managed the impossible escape from North Korea to South Korea.
He escaped to sea with his pregnant wife, mother, his brother’s family and an urn with his father’s ashes in it, the BBC writes.
They are the first to have succeeded in the near-impossible escape this year. After the corona pandemic hit with full force, the North Korean government panicked and sealed off the country from the rest of the world. Borders were closed and trade was suspended. Dropouts, which used to be quite common, stopped.
But for BBC Kim reveals how he planned and executed the remarkable defection from North Korea to South Korea. He doesn’t want to use his full name to protect his family.
Gave the children sleeping pills
The night of the escape was turbulent and dramatic. His brother’s children were asleep, knocked out by sleeping pills he had given them. Kim and his brother had to carry the children through a minefield in the dark to where the escape boat was located. They walked forward, being careful not to be caught by the guards’ searchlights.
Once they got to the boat, they hid the children in old grain sacks and made them look like bags with tools in them.
Then the journey to South Korea began.
There were strong winds, causing a storm, something Kim had planned. The rough weather at sea would force all surveillance ships to withdraw, he hoped.
Close to collapse
After a tough journey at sea in sweaty clothes and with a ship chasing them, they crossed the border.
– At that moment, all tension dropped. I felt like I was collapsing,” Kim told the BBC.
They flashed their light as they approached the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong and were rescued by the navy after nearly two hours.
Everything went exactly as planned.
– It was as if heaven helped us, he says.