S. Korean Military Surveillance Gear Captured Images of Defector Returning to N. Korea
South Korean military surveillance equipment captured images of a North Korean man who earlier this month re-defected to the North, the Joint Chiefs of Staff has confirmed.
However, as the defector returned to the North via a drainage ditch, taking advantage of the northward-facing disposition of South Korea's frontline units deployed along the DMZ, the military surveillance equipment failed to detect him in the initial stage of his defection attempt, revealing it to be essentially useless.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff announced on Friday that it will sternly warn the commanders of the Marine Corps and the Army's Capital Corps and sack the commander of the 2nd Marine Division in accordance with the results of its inspection of the defection site at Ganghwa Island's Wolmi Cape.
The Joint Chiefs also called for measures to strengthen weak points along the line such as drainage ditches, to activate on-site measures when sentry and surveillance personnel see something suspicious, and to optimize and verify surveillance equipment such as Thermal Observation Devices(TOD).
The Joint Chiefs' inspection revealed that though the defector alighted a taxi just 200 meters from a checkpoint on the Civilian Line of Control, sentries who saw the taxi lights neither checked it out nor reported it to their superiors.
It also revealed that it took just 12 minutes for the young man to navigate the drainage ditch to enter the Hangang River, squeezing through the aged, damaged metal barriers.
Moreover, it determined that military short- and mid-range surveillance radar and TOD near the point of defection detected the man seven times after he entered the Hangang River, capturing the entire process of him arriving in North Korea.
However, an official from the Joint Chiefs explained that it took an expert several views to make the defector out, suggesting that it would have been difficult to distinguish him at the time of escape.
[Photo : YONHAP News]