A person was smuggled into North Korea from the South: a search operation is underway
Sylvie Claire / January 2, 2022
An unidentified person entered North Korea by land from the South on New Year's Day, the South Korean military reported Sunday, a rare crossing of the heavily fortified border that has separated the two countries since 1953.
The individual was detected by surveillance equipment in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula at 9:20 p.m. local time on Saturday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee said.
The person has not yet been identified, a committee official said, adding that South Korean authorities have sent a message to the North about the incident.
A search operation was launched by the military, without result. And no unusual activity on the part of the North Korean military was spotted, the statement continued.
Years of repression and poverty in North Korea led more than 30,000 people to flee to the South in the decades following the Korean War (1950-1953), but passage in the other direction is extremely rare.
In 2020, North Korean troops shot and burned the body of a South Korean fisheries official who Pyongyang said had illegally crossed the maritime border.
The vast majority of North Koreans who escape first go to China before heading south, usually through another country.
Only a few have dared to cross the DMZ, which is riddled with mines and barbed wire, and where the military presence is massive on both sides.