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South Korea Says Defector Likely Swam Back to North Korea

  • The crossing led to a virus alert and lockdown in North Korea
  • Defector not infected with Covid-19, South Korea says
Views of the Korean Border Following Destruction of Joint Korea Office in Rebuke to Seoul
Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
Updated on

A defector was suspected of evading South Korean border guards by going through a drainage ditch and swimming back to North Korea, in a crossing that escalated tensions on the peninsula and led Pyongyang to lock down a city on virus fears.

The 24-year-old man is thought to have evaded detection by passing through a barbed wire-blocked ditch and entering a Han River estuary to the sea to the west, then swimming back to North Korea, Kim Jun-rak, a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson, told a media briefing Monday.