Four North Koreans' great Bulgarian escape | NK News
July 24, 2024

Four North Koreans’ great Bulgarian escape

For 4 exchange students in Eastern Europe, de-Stalinization was not just an intellectual challenge

On October 19, 1962, the then-small international airport of Sofia, the capital of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, witnessed a rather unusual scene. About 10 Asian-looking males entered the airport when commotion followed. Two of the males suddenly ran away, dropping their passports to the ground and yelling in good Bulgarian: “down with Kim Il Sung!” The remaining males tried to physically restrain them but to no avail: the two youngsters ran from the airport and disappeared.

This was a major failure of the North Korean spies and diplomats. The North Korean embassy briefly succeeding in abducting the students whose dissenting views became to be known, but the attempt to send them back failed completely, triggering a major diplomatic crisis between Bulgaria and North Korea.

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