February 21, 2024

Why some N. Korean defectors’ stories fall apart

From cash incentives to NIS backing, it doesn’t always pay to tell the truth

In its report released in February 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry accused North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of committing crimes against humanity and called for the case to be referred to the International Criminal Court. For its report the COI, having been denied access to North Korea, instead carried out 240 confidential interviews with North Korean refugees living in South Korea, Japan, the UK and the U.S., including Shin Dong-hyuk.

In January 2015, however, the DPRK government released a video of Shin’s father, claiming Shin’s stories were fake. When questioned Shin confessed that parts of the stories in his book were not correct, including sections on his time in Camp 14 and the age he was tortured.