China captures North Korean defector after more than 40 days on the run

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A North Korean defector who had escaped from a prison in northeast China was recaptured by authorities after more than 40 days on the run during a harsh winter.

A 39-year-old man, identified by Chinese authorities as Zhu Xianjian, had only two more years to complete his sentence when he starred in a movie escape.

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Court documents detail that Zhu was a coal miner in North Korea who swam across a river to a Chinese village in Tumen City, Jilin Province, in 2013. He was arrested later that year, and in 2014 he was arrested. sentenced to 11 years in prison for illegally crossing the border, and for committing theft and robbery.

He had his deportation to North Korea ordered by Chinese justice.

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Zhu, whose sentence was reduced twice for good behavior, was released from prison in Jilin City on Oct. 18.

His escape was recorded on video and includes using a rope to damage an electric fence and jump off a high wall. Zhu’s skill led to the hypothesis that he was a member of the North Korean army.

Authorities offered a reward of more than $23,000 for his capture and later increased it to more than $100,000 – more than 350 times the average monthly income of local residents.

On Sunday, Jilin police said in a statement that Zhu was detained around 10 am local time, without providing further details.

In a video of his arrest published by the state-run Global Times newspaper, a battered Zhu is seen being carried on his arms and legs by police officers on a pier.

In the footage you can hear the fugitive moaning as he is pushed into a car. Zhu is believed to have been shot in the leg and taken to hospital for treatment.

On Weibo, the Chinese social network where the video went viral, some users expressed surprise that Zhu had managed to survive so long in the cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing in the past 10 days.

North Korean defectors who are sent back to their home country could face serious consequences, including torture and sexual abuse, according to the Human Rights Watch.

In their hunt for Zhu, police arrested a man for five days for mistakenly chasing him over three days, according to state media.

“My main relief is that, the man who looks like him can finally be set free,” commented a user on the Global Times post about Zhu’s arrest.

(Translated text. Read the original here.)

Reference: CNN Brasil

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