tirsdag 30. november 2021

North Korean defector recaptured in China after more than 40 days on the run

A North Korean defector who escaped from prison in northeast China has been recaptured by authorities, after more than 40 days on the run in the biting winter cold. The 39-year-old, identified by Chinese authorities as Zhu Xianjian, was just two years short of completing his sentence, when he staged an escape that went viral, state media reported.

Court documents detail that Zhu was a North Korean coal miner who swam across a river to a Chinese village in Tumen city, Jilin province in 2013. He was arrested later that year, and in 2014 was sentenced to 11 years in prison for illegal border crossing, larceny and robbery, to be followed by his deportation, according to a court judgment.

Zhu, whose sentence was twice reduced owing to good behavior, broke free from prison in the city of Jilin on October 18. His dramatic escape, which was caught on video and included using a rope to damage an electric fence and jumping off a high prison wall, has led to speculation online that Zhu was a former member of the North Korean military. A related hashtag on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, has since attracted more than 800 million views.