In November of 2017, much of the free world heralded the brave actions of a North Korean soldier who defected to the south in a mad dash for freedom across the heavily guarded border.
Surveillance video showed the soldier approach the border in a vehicle and then jump out and run across while under rifle fire from his North Korean comrades. He was hit several times and was eventually rescued and evacuated by South Korean soldiers.
But according to The Korea Times, an English-language daily based in Seoul, South Korea, the bravery exhibited by the soldier that day may have been fueled in part by alcohol.
Furthermore, the defection itself may not have even been planned either, but was instead a spur of the moment bid to avoid punishment for driving drunk and possibly even causing an accident — potentially even a fatal one.
The Korea Times reported that an investigation by the National Intelligence Service into exactly what led up to the defection of Oh Chung-sung, the 24-year-old son of a senior North Korean military officer, is underway following questioning of the defector by South Korean officials.
Last week, The Daily Caller cited a report from a Korean-language publication that said Oh told investigators, “I committed a crime in North Korea that caused a death,” but details were murky.
Adding to the confusion, the Daily Caller report noted that Oh’s “testimony has a tendency to fluctuate with his mood, which could make his claims questionable.”
KBS World Radio reported that it is believed by investigators thus far that Oh had been driving a friend around the Panmunjeom truce village on the border when he got into an accident, and only then decided to escape across the border to avoid punishment in the North.
Those reports remain unconfirmed, but they’re unlikely to mean anything as far as Oh’s safety in the South, accoridng to The Daily Caller:
“If Oh is found to have committed a crime, specifically a violent crime, he may not receive the support that South Korea has traditionally offered to North Korean defectors. There is, however, no real risk of deportation as there is no extradition agreement between the North and the South.”
Separately, The Korea Herald reported in December of 2017 that Oh was granted a rather special gift while in recovery from his gunshot wounds and other issues that ailed him — a lifetime supply of his favorite snack, Choco Pies, the Korean equivalent of Moon Pies. It was a treat he had requested of his medical team when he initially awoke from the multiple surgeries that saved his life.
That information eventually made it to Orion, the manufacturer of the popular snack, which immediately sent 100 boxes of the chocolate, graham and marshmallow treats to his hospital room, even though he was not yet able to eat them.
The company further vowed to supply him with as many Choco Pies as he wanted for the rest of his life, provided he remained in South Korea after his recovery, the Korea Herald reported. A company official stated, “We sent the choco pies as a welcoming present to Oh, who came to Korea after going through hardship. It was not an act for publicity.”
It is worth noting that Choco Pies had essentially been banned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in 2014, according to Business Insider, as he believed them to be representative of the evils of capitalism and were used by South Korea as propaganda against his regime.
Prior to the ban, Choco Pies were routinely handed out to North Korean workers by South Korean businesses in lieu of forbidden overtime pay for their work in the joint venture Kaesong Industrial Complex operated by both governments.
The snacks had been selling on the black market in North Korea for years, sometimes fetching a price of $10 apiece, with an estimated 2.5 million per month being sold illicitly in 2010, Business Insider reported.
But capitalism had the last laugh in response to the ban, when South Korean activists “airlifted” 10,000 snacks into the North via balloons that are more typically used to spread pro-freedom propaganda pamphlets and USB drives across the North.
At least one North Korean doesn’t have to wait for balloons to get his Choco Pie fix anymore.
Please share this on Facebook and Twitter so everyone can see this tale of drunk driving North Korean defectors and banned Choco Pies.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.