Activist group again asks presidential hopefuls to clarify defector policy

SEOUL-- A group claiming to be helping the son of the slain brother of North Korea's leader said Wednesday it is now protecting seven North Korean defectors rescued from Southeast Asia, but cannot send them to Seoul due to the absence of security assurance from South Korean presidential candidates.

Last Tuesday, the group, which calls itself "Cheollima Civil Defense," openly asked South Korean presidential contenders running for the May 9 election whether they are willing to accept and protect North Korean defectors abroad in need of help.

In its latest post on its Web site,, the group said that it has recently rescued seven North Korean defectors in Southeast Asia but cannot send them to South Korea as it has yet to verify the presidential candidates' stance on defectors.

"We are aware that there are important issues in South Korea to be dealt with in this election," the group said in the post. "But we cannot send them to the South this time as there is no guarantee of basic protection."

Kim Han-sol, the son of the late Kim Jong-nam, appeared in an online video clip uploaded to the YouTube channel of Cheollima Civil Defense in March. He said his family became extremely worried for their safety after his father was assassinated in Malaysia on Feb. 13.

The half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was killed at an airport there after two Asian women allegedly smeared the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on his face.

Details about Cheollima Civil Defense are not known, but some experts claimed that the group may be related to South Korea's intelligence authorities.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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