A North Korean couple has been shot by firing squad immediately following their attempted escape via the border with South Korea, according to Radio Free Asia.
A North Korean citizen from Ryanggang, the city in which the couple lived prior to their untimely death, has explained that the middle-aged couple had received a call from the wife’s brother- who had already escaped- asking that they bring his son (their nephew) to South Korea to reunite during this time of anxiety and uncertainty.
However, during their attempt to cross the border, the three were arrested by border security guards, and were then interrogated and tortured into admitting their plans to escape to South Korea. In a private execution, the couple was shot by firing squad, but they boy’s life was spared due to his status as a minor.
It is believed that the couple’s capture is a result of the heavy security placed in the border regions to prevent entry into the country during the COVID-19 country; although, it has been confirmed that coronavirus has already made its way into the isolated country and is in three separate regions of the nation, one of which being the capital, Pyongyang.
News of the incident has spread throughout the couple’s hometown, and people are both horrified and enraged, According to Radio Free Asia: one Ryanggang resident explains “they were only trying to escape with their young nephew to find a way to live.” Another resident says of the Ryanggang people: “as people hear this shocking news, they are expressing their anger at the authorities, saying there’s nothing wrong with trying to escape from North Korea, especially when it is so hard to make ends meet due to the coronavirus crisis.”
Multiple reports have been released explaining that the peninsula nation has intensified its isolation measures, cutting off imports and causing widespread starvation as North Koreans are swiftly running out of food supplies. Many families are out of business as their storefronts have closed down, leaving them with no income or lifestyle- such was the unfortunate situation of the couple in this story.
North Korean government officials have released statements in the past that individuals who attempt to escape during the pandemic will be subject to severe punishment, but this story displays just how inhumane the regime is- revoking the right to due process and killing two of its own citizens for simply looking for a better life elsewhere.
Original source: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/escape-05222020185630.html