22 N KOREANS EXECUTED FOR DEFECTION ATTEMPT
February 17, 2008: twenty-two North Koreans, sent back to the North by South Korean authorities earlier this month after their fishing boats drifted into South Korean waters, were reportedly executed by a firing squad. The group were shot dead last week by North Korean military authorities of South Hwanghae Province, which believed they had attempted to defect to the South, Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting an unidentified government source.
"The rumour was spreading out among locals. Local people have been shocked that all of the 22 were executed by a firing squad without distinction of age or sex,'' the source said. The group were spotted on the western waters off South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island on Feb 8 and interrogated by an investigation team of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Navy, NIS officials said.
The group included eight men, 14 women and three students. (Sources: Korea Times, 17/02/2008)