North Korea escapee walked around heavily guarded border unnoticed for hours

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A North Korean defector managed to walk around South Korea's heavily guarded border for hours before being spotted.

The man wandered around the area before he was caught out by CCTV.

However, the South Korean military is now under heavy criticism for failing to spot the defector.

He was able to cross to the South despite guards and surveillance.

It was reported earlier the man swam for six hours to South Korea and then crawled through a drainage pipe beneath barbed wire in a bid to defect on February 16.

After arriving, he walked around in his wet suit and flippers for 5km.

He was caught after a guard spotted him on a CCTV camera and alerted authorities.

But while the manhunt was taking place, he had already been picked up on five surveillance cameras.

Despite this triggering alarms, soldiers failed to take action.

An official from the joint chiefs of staff [JCS] told Yonhap: “Service members in charge of the guard duty failed to abide by due procedures and failed to detect the unidentified man."

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After an investigation launched into the failure to follow up on his CCTV appearance, authorities found one guard in charge of coastal surveillance equipment was dealing with a computer issue.

He had dismissed alerts as a technical error.

Another guard was distracted by a phone call, reports The Guardian.

According to South Korea’s JoongAng Daily, the man is a North Korea citizen who has expressed his desire to defect to the South in the past.

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement: "The man likely swam across the maritime border, came ashore near an observatory south of South Korean general outposts (GOPs) and passed through a drainage channel under the fences lining the shore.

"We take this situation gravely and are conducting an on-site investigation with the Ground Forces Command

"We will take follow-up measures and stern actions according to the results of the investigation."

  • North Korea Dprk

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