In September, around 20 defectors residing in Shenyang, China, were arrested in an operation which appeared to be part of an elaborate plan implemented by the National Security Agency.
The Daily NK reported that, “This arrest was planned over a long period of time, with four NSA agents stationed in Tumen, Jilin, monitoring the defectors’ movements.”
The Daily NK’s source said that, “The NSA team was established and began planning the operation in August… and that the arrest has been used to show off the NSA’s achievements.”
A source in China noted that, “This investigation has been carried out jointly by North Korea’s NSA and a special team of the Chinese Public Security (police) in Yanji. It is a quite unprecedented case because the NSA chased defectors to Shenyang (from Yanji), even though they didn’t purchase any secret documents, nor were they high officials.”
"The defectors who were arrested had convened in Shenyang in three separate groups from Yanji and Qingdai. The NSA agents already knew the exact time and location of the meeting, so it would seem that the NSA had thoroughly prepared for the arrest,” the source said.
Regarding the arrest, a defector who entered South Korea in 2010 said, “Defectors entering South Korea tend to take a lot of care in their security, yet this time the number of people arrested was unprecedentedly large. Due to this fact, it can be suggested that the North Korean authorities were targeting and planning the operation over a long period of time.”
Even though there is a rumor that these 20 arrested defectors have been already detained in jails of the NSA in Onsung, North Hamkyung Province, after being sent to North Korean on the 15th, a South Korean official noted that, “The South’s government has not heard about their repatriation to the North from the Chinese authorities. In addition, we have been in negotiations with China in order to prevent their repatriation to the North.”