North Korean defector shot five times in terrifying escape from reclusive state

A North Korean defector has told the harrowing story of how he was shot five times as he attempted to escape to South Korea.

Oh Chong Song made a dash for freedom, like many of his compatriots, in November 2017. He was peppered with bullets but lived to tell the tale.

Footage filmed on surveillance cameras showed him smashing through a military checkpoint in a green jeep.

He was heading towards the Demilitarized Zone, a strip of land separating North and South Korea that acts as a buffer between the neighbours.

Had he been caught, Oh Chong would have been sent to a concentration camp for political prisoners or executed by a firing squad.

Speaking to NBC, amazingly he said he did not have any hard feelings against the border guards who fired at him.

The defector said: "In their situation I would have fired the gun. It's not a matter of friendship.

"I understand them because if I were in their shoes I would have done the same thing.

"I was extremely terrified. I watch this video once in a while and every time I see it, I realise the fact that I am alive is a miracle.

"Even I can't believe something like this happened."

Many people try and defect from reclusive North Korea to South Korea every year, but the numbers have been dropping since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011.

The coronavirus pandemic has further closed off exit opportunities.

Oh Chong was wearing a padded jacket during his daring escape.

He said: "I was wearing a padded jacket and the pullet penetrated through here and came out this way.

"Because of that penetration wound, the muscle there was blown apart and I could feel the warmth of the blood flowing underneath me. I still ran."

South Korean soldiers dragged him to safety after finding him.

He added: "I did think that I was going to die as I was lying there. At this point, when they were coming to rescue me, I was unconscious."

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