An increasing number of North Korean refugees are arriving in northern Thailand, fleeing poverty and political oppression at home. Two North Koreans turn away as a group of journalists and refugee activists attempt to talk to them. They were spotted on the side of the road along Thailand’s border with Laos. Several more ran as journalists approached.
Speaking in Chinese, one woman says they just arrived and asks where exactly they are, but she does not want to say where they came from or how they got here. “Don’t ask this. So many things are not good to ask. We don’t dare say,” she said.
The refugees reach Thailand by crossing the Mekong River from Laos after a dangerous journey across China.
Thai immigration authorities say they took more than 1,000 North Koreans into custody in 2009, compared with less than 400 in 2008 when Beijing tightened security for the Olympics.