A South Korean man who was shot dead while trying to swim across a border river had sought refugee protection in Japan before making a rare attempt to defect to the North, a senior military official said Tuesday.
“The dead man had applied for refugee status in Japan for political reasons, but his application was turned down and he was expelled from the nation,” Army Brg. Gen. Jo Jong-seol, deputy operation commander at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a briefing. “It is known that (Nam) did similar acts in other countries.”
A joint investigation team identified the civilian by a passport he was carrying, and is currently conducting fingerprint testing, he said.
At the time of the incident, the man had wrapped himself in Styrofoam, as a substitute for a life jacket, and was carrying some emergency food, including instant noodles and snacks, according to military officials. (Yonhap News)