North Korea

Man shot dead during bid to reach North Korea

A man attempting to swim across the Imjin River into North Korea was shot dead by South Korean border troops on Monday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 September, 2013, 7:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 3:00am

South Korean soldiers yesterday shot and killed a man they believed was trying to cross into North Korea at the heavily guarded border, officials said.

The man, dressed in civilian clothes, ignored guards' warnings to return to the South and was shot after he jumped into the Imjin River which runs through the border in Paju, north of Seoul, officials at South Korea's Defence Ministry said.

The man's South Korean passport identified him as Nam Young-ho, who was deported from Japan in June, according to defence ministry officials. They said Nam was born in 1966 but provided no other personal details, including why he was deported. The man was first seen near a wire fence near the river.

Border guards told him to turn back, but he ignored them and went into a part of the river where there was no wire fence, the officials said. It was later found that he had tied buoys around himself and was carrying biscuits, officials said.

North Korea's state media made no immediate comment about the shooting. South Koreans have previously tried to defect to the poor, authoritarian country, but it is rare.

More than 25,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea, say officials in Seoul. Many came south after a famine in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people.