Disaster for Kim Jong-un as six border guards tasked to block defections defect themselves

The soldiers fled across the border into China with their weapons where they are currently at large. Whilst individual North Korean soldiers periodically make it across the border it’s rare for such a big group to do so.

Analysts have linked this to North Korea’s deteriorating economic situation, with “stockpiled food running out”, and the end of smuggling across the border.

Chinese authorities are believed to be searching for the six fugitives.

Speaking to Radio Free Asia (RFA) a military insider said the escape had shocked North Korean authorities.

They commented: “The six were on night-time stakeout at the border on the night of the 2nd and did not show up after their scheduled return time in the early morning.

“A search team combed the entire border area looking for them.

“It was determined that the six had crossed the river with their weapons and escaped to China. It’s caused quite the stir.”

North Korea is ruled by Kim Jong-un as a brutal communist dictatorship.

If caught defectors face severe punishment which could include execution or being sent to a forced labour camp.

READ MORE: North Korea defector gears up for UK council election battle

They added: “Their entire company will be disbanded and their commanders and anyone else will have to take responsibility, so it will be a bit of a bloodbath around here for a while.”

Thousands of North Koreans have fled the country with most escaping via China whilst some make it directly across the South Korean border.

Last month one defector made it to South Korea using flippers and a diving suit.

The RFA’s source emphasised the coronavirus pandemic, and corresponding tightening of border security, has worsened the situation for border guards.

They said: “Usually, border guards are in collusion with professional smugglers and merchants and they live better than soldiers in other regions.

“But the coronavirus outbreak has been raging for more than a year, so smuggling has completely stopped and they are suffering from hunger these days.”

One of those who escaped North Korea was Yeonmi Park, now 27, who made it to China in 2007 aged just 13.

Speaking to Express.co.uk revealed the rest of her family “were tortured because of our escape”.

Ms Park was forced to flee again across the Gobi Desert into Mongolia to escape people traffickers.

Kim Jong-un launched a major crackdown on possible dissent when he took power in 2012 with his uncle having been executed and step-brother assassinated.

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