Dramatic security footage shows how a 24-year-old North Korean soldier was repeatedly shot by guards as he desperately tried to escape the restrictive country by bravely fleeing over the border into South Korea.
Footage of the terrifying ordeal, which was released by U.N. Command (UNC) in Seoul, South Korea, has sparked questions surrounding whether at least one North Korean official crossed the border while pursuing the unnamed soldier; they shot the man four times, but he survived and is being cared for inside neighboring South Korea.
Furthermore, there are claims that the soldiers’ decision to shoot over the border during the Nov. 13. event violates a 1953 armistice agreement, according to The Daily Mail.
“The key findings of the special investigation team are that the KPA violated the armistice agreement by one, firing weapons across the MDL, and two, by actually crossing the [Military Demarcation Line] temporarily,” Chad Carroll, public affairs head for the UNC, said of the incident.
Despite the debate over the harrowing ordeal and its potential violation of agreements between North and South Korea, the escapee has reportedly survived and regained consciousness, despite his fellow soldiers’ spraying 40 bullets in his direction.
Surgeon Lee Cook-Jong told reporters this week that the man “is fine” and “is not going to die.” But it hasn’t been an easy battle.
“From a medical point of view he was almost dead when he was first brought here,” he said. “The reason that he defected, risking death and facing a barrage of gunshots, was because he had positive hopes about South Korea.”
Video of the man’s desperate escape shows that the Jeep he was driving got stuck in a ditch. He spent some time trying to free it before fleeing the vehicle and sprinting toward the border, Reuters reported.
As he ran, four guards began shooting in pursuit. While the footage doesn’t show the man getting hit, it does show him laying motionless near a wall. South Korean troops, who became aware of the scuffle, dragged the severely injured man to safety.
The soldier’s last name is reportedly Oh, though additional details about him have not yet come out. Find out more about the footage here.
The man’s desperation shows his quest for a better life. It’s no secret that North Korea is notoriously restrictive, with reports most recently claiming that officials have banned events that focus on singing, dancing and drinking.
And, beyond that, the regime has been tragically brutal in its treatment of prisoners and minority groups, especially Christians.
Read more about the horrific conditions inside North Korea here.