A nuclear scientist named Hyun Cheol Huh fled from his native country of North Korea across the border to China only to be forced to return home upon which he killed himself.
The defector was a researcher in the physics center of the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang and was one of several North Koreans detained in the Chinese city of Shenyang. The defectors were caught on November 4 and returned to North Korea on November 17.
"He killed himself only a few hours after he was placed in solitary confinement at the State Security Department in Sinuiju city," a source told RFA. "He died before he could be questioned about the reasons for his escape, who had helped him, and what his route had been."
The North Korean scientist was the head of a research team at the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang’s Unjong district and had left the country after taking a vacation from his job "because he was showing signs of anxiety over his research projects."
"Suddenly, he visited relatives near the border without letting his family know and without carrying valid documents for travel. And when he learned that the authorities were looking for him, he simply disappeared."
North Korean security officials are now trying to figure out how he was able to cross the Tumen River into China where he joined other defectors. The source went on to say they are unsure if his real name was even Hyun Cheol Huh since "Generally, State Security will use numbers or fake names when referring to important persons [in their custody]."
The Chinese government goofed up pretty big on this one since they did not discover the defector's high-level position until he was already returned. The defector did not offer to Chinese authorities that he was a nuclear scientist if he had they would have certainly not returned him and tried to find out what he knows.
Perhaps Hyun Cheol Huh discovered a terrible secret, the launch of a new bomb that would kill millions, and couldn't bear to be a part of it? Or perhaps the droning routine of being worked to death only to wake up and do it all over again just got to him.
We will likely never know the truth behind the man's story now that he is dead.
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