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North Korean Defector’s Shocking Footage: Citizens Starving, Begging for Survival

Daniel Kim Views  

ⓒJapan TBS

Footage revealing the dire circumstances North Korean citizens face has been released.

On the 29th, Japan’s TBS network released a video filmed by defector Mr. Kim in Hwanghae Province last April for the first time.

The video shows a man lying alone on the street. Mr. Kim said, “I asked a nearby shop owner if the man was dead. He told me the man had been lying there since the previous afternoon and was still alive when he checked. He seemed to have collapsed from hunger and looked like he would die soon.”

In another video, a man begging while smoking a cigarette appears. When Mr. Kim asks, “Are there many hungry people in your work group?” the man replies, “There are a lot. Many people have no choice but to go to work even though death is imminent.”

ⓒJapan TBS

Mr. Kim, who arrived in South Korea by boat last May, filmed the citizens struggling with starvation just before his defection.

Regarding his decision to defect, Mr. Kim said, “In North Korea, you can’t survive unless you’re 100% suspicious of everything the moment you step outside your house.”

When you are walking down the street, someone will blow a whistle and conduct a physical examination, then turn you into a criminal for any reason, such as wearing jeans or wandering around during working hours.

Mr. Kim, who worked in the fishing industry, said, “Whenever I went to sea and saw Yeonpyeong Island before me, I had a strong desire to defect, even if I had to go alone. But I didn’t want to bear the pain of being separated from my family. I spent half a year considering bringing my entire family.”

It is reported that the North Korean government has tightened control and exploitation of its citizens since the outbreak of COVID-19.

One day, a patrol team suddenly visited Mr. Kim’s house and took away the rice he had stored. When Mr. Kim protested, saying, “This is the food we bought with our money; don’t take it away,” the patrol team retorted, “Is this your land? Even the air you breathe belongs to the Workers’ Party.” He said that hearing this made him decide to escape, as he felt no hope was left there.

Mr. Kim compared the COVID-19 pandemic era to the 1990s famine known as the Arduous March. He said, “It was harder than the Arduous March. Back then, people didn’t starve to death in the breadbasket of Hwanghae Province, but during the COVID-19 period, so many people died that we heard stories every day in our neighborhood about the death of someone’s or someone’s child.”

ⓒJapan TBS

Due to the food shortage, violent crimes have also increased. Mr. Kim said, “Murders and robberies were commonplace. There were many public executions.” When asked by the host if he had witnessed a public execution, he recalled, “I saw one. It was in mid-April 2023. A college student was executed for killing a middle-aged woman and stealing around $400.”

According to the 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by the U.S. Department of State on the 22nd, North Korea has begun to ease its border closure, which was implemented after the outbreak of COVID-19. However, the report evaluated that arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, summary executions, and other inhumane acts are still rampant, with no signs of improvement.

The report pointed out that torture, including beatings, electric shocks, water torture, nudity, confinement in small cells where one cannot stand or lie down, and hanging, is rampant in North Korea, as is physical violence by correctional officers and sexual assaults on female prisoners.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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