Soldier escapes after 50-year captivity

Lee Bok-jae claims that he was captured by the North Koreans during a battle in eastern Korea in the early 1950s, at the time of the Korean War. Between 1950 and 1953, South Korea, backed by the USA and the United Kingdom, was fighting North Korea, backed by China.

Lee Bok-jae claims that he was held as a coal miner during his years of captivity. Now 67, he was one of a group of 19 who entered South Korea, stating that they were defectors from the north.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has not disclosed how the group of 19 managed to escape. It is stated that many who try go first into the People’s Republic of China by swimming across a river and try to find their way to the nearest South Korean consulate. Despite an agreement between Peking and Pyongyang that people caught crossing the border illegally are to be returned, to face an almost certain death sentence, it is believed that there is an unwritten agreement that those who manage to reach the South Korean consulate are allowed to travel to Seoul.


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