The border guards at the DMZ who failed to bring down their escaping comrade last week may now be wishing they had followed him out and into the South rather than firing on and failing to kill him.
All of them have now been removed from their posts and things aren’t likely going to be pleasant in the near future, which may be the only future many of them have. According to a South Korean official cited by CNN, not only those who were directly involved in the failed attempt to stop the defector but almost all of the soldiers deployed to the border that day have been replaced.
Greg Scarlatoiu, of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, says, “They will be investigated by the Military Security Command, possibly by the State Security Department as well, which is the North Korean Gestapo.” He says it’s very likely that they will be tortured during any pretrial investigation, if there is to be a trial, and that they’ll be charged with treason.
Even Kim Jong-un’s top generals may be targeted for repercussions for the defection, the report says, due to the extreme level of humiliation and international embarrassment it has brought upon the North Korean dictator.
Sue Terry, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies believes a commanding person will be targeted for failing to prevent the escape. She called it a “very high profile defection,” one that is very embarrassing to the Kim regime.
She referenced the videos of tape worms being removed from the soldier’s body as insult to the injury of his successful escape.
The CNN reporter cites anonymous experts as saying the leaders could be sent to forced labor camps, demoted, or sent for re-education. He notes a reactive measure being taken at the spot where the soldier made his break for freedom, the digging of a trench to make a repeat performance more difficult to accomplish.
CNN reporter Brian Todd notes that the Kim regime will likely go after the defector’s family, targeting them for arrest, torture and possible execution in retaliation for the insult to Kim. The North Korean regime has been known in the past to target up to three generations of a defector’s family for elimination.
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