North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has demanded that officials “go to South Korea if they have to” in order to arrest those who defected on his birthday.
Radio Free Asia quoted internal sources as saying Kim was furious when told that 16 North Koreans defected on February 16th. Word of the defections was kept secret as it reflects badly on the backwards country.
“During Kim’s birthday, the nation was under a special warning period for defecting, and when reported by his officials, Kim ordered them to send out an arrest squad to catch the ‘fleed family,’” the source was quoted as saying. It's common for defectors to leave as a family, as the government will often kill all the family members of a defector.
The source also stated that the officials were threatened with punishment if they failed to bring back the defectors from the North Hamgyong Province.
North Korea's propaganda website, “Uriminzokkiri,” published a statement asking the defectors “to return to the arms of their republic,” and that the nation’s “heavens have newly opened”.
Life inside the hermit kingdom is notoriously harsh. It is plagued by constant food shortages and is unable to produce enough energy to meet its needs. It also has one of the worst human rights records in the world.