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Boy Spends Life in Hiding,
Finally Shot to Death

Chinese Guard Kills NK 17-Year-Old
Refugee Right at Mongolian Border

More views of daily hardships faced by NK refugees

On April 20 this year, LFNKR received reports that a 20-year-old man was fatally shot when Chinese border guards interrupted an escape attempt by 24 North Korean defectors as they were crossing the border into Mongolia from Manzhouli, China.

Now RENK, a Japan-based NGO, has revealed that the North Korean male killed on April 2 was not really 20 years old, as reported by the Chinese authorities. In fact, he was only 17, and the Chinese authorities hurriedly cremated his body immediately after the shooting. The boy’s ashes accompanied the other 23 NK refugees when they arrived in South Korea on May 18th.

To date, the South Korean government has refused to allow the dead boy’s father or his younger sister to speak out publicly.

1998 -- Chol-hun and his young sister met Mr. Lee Young Hwa (RENK’s representative)


Feb. 1999 -- Back together after going through the arrest and release in China

Aug. 2000 -- Chol-hun still bears scars from the third escape from North Korea following their repatriation.

Early 2001 -- Moved to a Korean-Chinese village in Heilongjang, looking for a safer place to hide.

Apr. 2003 -- With their father in the village of Heilongjang

Mid-March 2004 -- In his last hiding place. He has grown into a young man.

Mid-March 2004 -- At a Chinese restaurant on the way to Mongolia. He ate two big bowlfuls of Chinese noodles. Just after this photo was taken, his father recalls telling him that they would finally be reaching South Korea soon, and Chol-hun gave his biggest smile.


Glimpses Into The Hardships
of North Korean Refugees

This boy was arrested by North Korean border guards during a trip back home to North Korea with the money he earned in China. At a lockup in Hangyong Bukto, where the temperature was -20 Centigrade (-4 F), his shoes were taken away, and he lost all ten toes to frostbite.

The mother and her daughter left their hometown, Onsong, Hamgyong Bukto, North Korea and went to China, searching for food. The little girl has gone blind from malnutrition.

Dead bodies floating from North Korea. Local Korean Chinese in Musan say they died from starvation.

A starving North Korean refugee managed to escape from Hyesan to Changbai, but died two days after this picture was taken (in 2000).

The slogan "Hail to the great Sun in the 21st century, General Kim Jong-il" in Hyesan, North Korea seen from the opposite bank in Changbai, Jilin, China.

One of the shelters used for refugees from North Korea. One hut accommodates 4 to 5 people. Our group (LFNKR) supplied the plastic sheets.

This man escaped to Vietnam but was arrested and handed over to Chinese authorities. He so feared being sent back to North Korea that he swallowed spoons trying to kill himself. Here, he shows the incision made to remove the spoons. He managed to avoid repatriation and reached South Korea by a small boat.

The sign says "Trafficking in North Korean females prohibited." It was posted in a village in Helong, Autonomous Region in Jilin, where many Korean Chinese live.

This shelter is located in a border mountainous area of Changbai, Jilin, where the temperature sometimes plummets to -30 Centigrade (-22 F).

The LFNKR's foster parent program mainly supplies financial support for the education of orphans from North Korea.

LFNKR runs a self-reliance program allowing refugees to help generate funds for their own support by knitting colorful covers for "zabuton" cushions. These cushion covers are sold in Japan and other countries.

Another self-reliance project is the creation of hand-carved crosses for sale abroad.