In a first, the U.N. Command (which is led by the U.S.) has released security footage of a North Korean defecting across the DMZ. The footage, taken last week, shows a North Korean soldier making a break for the border after leaving his jeep and being pursued and shot by other soldiers. Per the U.N. Command, North Korea violated the Korean War armistice by firing at the defector across the DMZ and for crossing the military demarcation line.
According to U.S. Forces Korea Public Affairs Director Col. Chad Carroll, the U.N. Command has requested a meeting with the North Korean People’s Army to discuss the violations and how to prevent future incidents. The 24-year-old soldier, who is recovering in a South Korean hospital after receiving blood and undergoing surgery, is the third North Korean soldier to defect this year. The soldier was shot at over 40 times during his escape, but it’s not known how many times he was hit.
Most peculiarly, doctors found dozens of parasitic worms — some nearly a foot in length — in the soldier’s intestines, which is a possible indication of the poor nutrition and health among the lower ranks of the North Korean military. And as if having parasitic worms wasn’t bad enough, the soldier had different types of parasitic worms, including one type that is typically found in dogs.
The soldier was also found to have hepatitis B, a possible precursor to liver cancer. Experts believe that hepatitis B is “a good indication of a country’s poor sterilization practices in hospitals.” A 2015 study of North Korean defectors found examples of parasites and hepatitis B among those who provided samples.