In South Korea, the fisherman who decided to defect from North Korea, has explained why he has asked for political asylum, during a news conference in Scoul this week.
In South Korea, the fisherman who decided to defect from North Korea, has explained why he has asked for political asylum, during a news conference in Scoul this week. Oh Rhee Sop was one of five fishermen on a North Korean boat, which sank after colliding with a ship in South Korean waters last month. The other four crew members were released by South Korean and walked back to the North through the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday (3 July). Mr. Oh has been given permission to stay in South Korea by the United Nations Commission which supervises the peace treaty between North and South Korea.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Oh met newsmen in the Seoul Press Centre. Aged 44, his decision to defect to South Korea has meant leaving behind a wife, two sons and three daughters in the North Korean fishing port of Nampo, west of the capital city, Pyongyang.
Mr. Oh said he was afraid to return home because he thought he would be punished by the North Korean authorities. He said he considered his family would be treated in the same way, whether he returned or not. He added that he had been leading a miserable life in the North and that he was impressed by what he had seen of South Korea. He then described his experience of social and economic conditions in the North.
Mr. Oh said North Korea's government under President Kim Il Sung tended to ignore the welfare of the people. He sad food rationing meant his family received only 600 grams of rice a day. He told newsmen he thought the right of the individual were respected in South Korea, whereas there was no freedom of speech in the North.