CHIANG RAI – Police in Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai have detained eight suspected (DPRK) North Korean defectors were intercepted at the Chiang Rai border, 7 women and one child Thursday while patrolling the banks of the Mekong River.
Col. Leuwat Yeuntham of Chiang Khong district police said Friday that Immigration may charge them with illegal entry before relocating them to a third country.
The women – aged 19 to 61 – and the child had no documentation.
With difficulty, the North Korean’s told police they escaped through China then Laos before crossing the Mekong into Chinag Khong district of Chiang Rai. They said they wanted to be relocated to a third country, preferably South Korea.
Col. Leuwat said that the North Koreans had been sent to Chiang Rai’s Thoeng District Court. He said everyone in the group appeared healthy.
“They still looked well. They weren’t so thin. It wasn’t like they were in dire straits,” Leuwat said.
Thailand is a popular transit country for North Koreans seeking refuge in a third country, usually South Korea.