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North Korean Defector Aims to 'Wake Up' Compatriots

Kim Joo Il’s quiet office in a suburb of southwest London could hardly be more different from the hardships he faced serving as a captain in the North Korean army. Kim fled North Korea in 2005 by swimming across a river in his home province of northern Hamkyong. After four hours drifting in the river, he reached China. From there, he traveled through Vietnam, Cambodia and then Thailand, finally reaching Britain two years later. He now edits the newspaper Free NK from the British capital, which aims to expose the reality of life in the isolated state and the abuses carried out by its government. Kim says he fled his homeland because of growing despondency and disillusionment with North Korea’s dictatorship. He believes more North Koreans would try to flee if not for the fear of retaliation against family members left behind.   His hometown of Kilju-gun is in the...

 

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