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NKorean defectors to stand trial in Myanmar

NKorean defectors to stand trial in Myanmar

Nineteen North Korean defectors will stand trial on charges of illegal entry after being arrested early this month along the Myanmar-Thai border, a government official said Tuesday.
The defectors _ including 15 women and a 7-year old boy _ were arrested Dec. 2 trying to cross into Thailand at Tachileik, a border town about 340 miles (550 kilometers) northeast of Yangon. They were transferred to Keng Tung prison about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Tachileik where they will stand trial Wednesday, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
A diplomat from the South Korean embassy said a request to the Myanmar Foreign Ministry to visit the group had not yet been granted. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of embassy policy.
Thousands of people have fled North Korea in recent years, citing hunger and harsh political oppression. Many make a risky land journey through China to Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries before seeking asylum in South Korea, which is home to nearly 14,000 North Korean defectors.
Myanmar severed relations with North Korea in 1983 following a bombing in Yangon by North Korean secret agents targeting former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. He was unhurt, but 21 people were killed.
The two countries have been quietly working to normalize relations for the past few years, and agreed to resume diplomatic ties in April 2007.


Updated : 2021-02-26 20:53 GMT+08:00