The Korea Herald


[Exclusive] Escape of North Korean family orchestrated by two millennial brothers

By Kim Arin

Published : May 21, 2023 - 18:24

    • Link copied

The flags of South Korea and North Korea (123rf) The flags of South Korea and North Korea (123rf)

North Korean brothers who brought their family members out of the country earlier this month are late millennials, part of the tech-savvy younger generation of North Korea who have increased access to external information.

Sources with knowledge of the latest defections told The Korea Herald on Sunday that it was the two brothers in their early 30s who had made the decision to leave North Korea with their family.

The sources said that the brothers told Seoul officials here in a screening interview that they had yearned for a life in South Korea after secretly watching South Korean TV. In particular, they cited the talk show “Now on My Way to Meet You,” featuring North Korean defectors, as having had a major influence.

Analyses say North Korean millennials are the main consumers of foreign media content, mostly from South Korea, in the totalitarian country where such acts are severely punished.

According to a South Korean government report on the human rights situation in North Korea released in March, North Korea has publicly executed citizens including teens for watching South Korean media.

The family comprising the two brothers, their mother, their wives and children of one of the brothers crossed the sea border west of the peninsula at night about two weeks ago. They have been held by authorities here for the entry investigation since.

The brothers' late father, who died nearly a decade ago, was rejected from joining the Workers’ Party, North Korea’s sole political party, and had faced discrimination, they were quoted as telling the officials.