31 NKoreans come to SKorea in possible defection | world | Hindustan Times
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31 NKoreans come to SKorea in possible defection

Thirty-one North Koreans have crossed the tense Yellow Sea border by boat and arrived on a frontline South Korean island in a possible defection, reports said on Monday.

world Updated: Feb 07, 2011 08:11 IST

Thirty-one North Koreans have crossed the tense Yellow Sea border by boat and arrived on a frontline South Korean island in a possible defection, reports said on Monday.

The 11 men and 20 women arrived on Saturday at Yeonpyeong island in a fishing boat which was then towed to the western port city of Incheon, a government source was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying.

Dong-A Ilbo newspaper carried a similar report.

Military and intelligence officials were interrogating them about how they crossed the maritime border, the source said, adding that the North Koreans are a work group and not members of a family.

A military official told Yonhap on condition of anonymity that investigators are also considering the possibility that the North Koreans arrived on the island after their boat began drifting.

Cross-border tensions have been high since the North shelled Yeonpyeong in November, killing two civilians and two marines.

On December 25, a North Korean crossed the Yellow Sea border by boat and landed on Baengnyeong, another frontline island. He was allowed last month to return to the North after expressing a wish to do so.

More than 20,000 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 war, mostly via China.