A North Korea who absconded at the highly secured Demilitarized Zone received no less than five bullets and is currently in a critical state, said South Korea.
The defector arrived to the South’s side of the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the town of Panmunjom on Monday.
He used a vehicle to get close to the JSA, but continued his escape plan by foot after he encountered difficulties with the truck, the South said.
North Korean soldiers fired at him 40 times – fortunately, he was able to get to the other side.
More than 1,000 from North Korea escape to South Korea annually – But a few number of defects through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – one of the world’s most secured zone.
There is still a conflict between North and South Korea, after the war between ended in 1953 not with a peaceful agreement but with an armistice.
Five bullets removed, maybe two more
The South provided more details of the defector’s welfare on Tuesday.
“It was towards the birth of today that we received the news that he was unconscious and was on oxygen – however, he has a chance of survival,” Military official Suh Uk said.
Doctors worked around the clock to treat the unconscious soldier and extricate five bullets from his body with suspicion of two others inside, Uk added.
The soldier was seen driving towards the Joint Security Area on Monday, but a wheel fell off the vehicle, South’s Korea’s JCS said.
“He had to abandon the truck and continued on foot only to receive 40 rounds from other North Korean soldiers,” the U.S. United Nations Command explained.
The soldier hid behind a structure on the South side, where he collapsed under a heap of leaves and troops slithered to the place to rescue him, the military noted.
South’s defense minister Song Young-moo informed officials that this was the only time that the North Korean troops had fired into the South Korea’s side of the Area.
Over 30,000 North Koreans fled to South Korea after the War in 1953, according to Seoul.
Most of them escaped through China, which shared the longest outskirt with North Korea and is not heavily guarded like the DMZ.
China, however, see the detectors as illegal vagrants and frequently repatriates them.