October 01, 2023

In a quiet London suburb, North Korean defectors search for home

New Malden provides a place where refugees can blend in. But they carry with them the memories of those left behind.

On the surface, the London suburb of New Malden is much the same as any other small British town. Pubs and convenience stores dot the streets, along with fast food joints like McDonald’s and KFC. The Union Jack hangs from the odd tree or house.

Yet nestled between the usual fixtures of British high streets, one can also spot the distinctive script of the Korean alphabet everywhere — on restaurants and shops, cultural centers and groceries.