An Unusual Greeting For Some North Korean Refugees Entering Thailand

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WLO_visitrememberThailand and Laos hold a special place in the heart of almost all North Korean defectors because it is here, when crossing the Mekong River, that they can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they have at last reached some semblance of safety. From here they turn themselves in to a local detention facility, and then the South Korean Embassy is notified to take custody of them and initiate the process of bringing them to South Korea.

This time in Thailand and Laos is a more complicated and dangerous process than it sounds, as there is no road map to detention facilities, and brokers do not risk crossing the Mekong for fear of their identities being discovered. So when North Koreans exit the skiffs onto the other side of the river they simply wander in the direction they’ve been told by their broker to go. In the case of…

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