What It Took To Save A North Korean Defector's Life

Lee: I saw many hepatitis patients up to the 1990s, but now not so much. In terms of parasites, I’ve never seen such  a huge amount of parasites in the intestine. His hepatitis was a unique type, it was B but also D, and D is really resistant to ordinary treatment.

He’s doing great now.

Serwer: Did the defector say anything to you about why he ran over?

Lee: His car was stopped, he was trying to drive his car to South Korean territory directly, but unfortunately his car was stopped.

Serwer: I mean do you know why he made the decision to defect?

Lee: No, I didn’t ask him. That might be stressful.

Serwer: What kind of questions did he ask you when he woke up?

Lee: Right after he woke up, he was disoriented, and he was yelling and shouting. A couple of hours later, he woke up again, and one of the first questions he asked me [was], “Is this really South Korea?” I hung the South Korean flag in front of his bed. So I actually asked him, hey, have a look at that flag, if you were in North Korea, you wouldn’t see that flag.

Serwer: What films or TV shows did you show him? Why?

Lee: He loved to see >Transporter 3.

Serwer: He wanted to see action movies even though he had been shot?

Lee: He didn’t like military movies, but he loves to drive—his speciality [in the military] was as a driver. So he was really interested in Transporter 3, with the fancy cars appearing there. He also watched, I forget the name, a funny movie, Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman?

Serwer: The movie where [Carrey] becomes God? [He meant Bruce Almighty.]

Lee: Yeah. He also loves to listen to South Korean K-pop, girls’ groups. Later he was interested in having a look at South Korean TV series. I didn’t even show him the South Korean news. A lot of the news channels were broadcasting his story, so it might [affect] his recovery. He was watching young-generation romantic TV miniseries, like your sitcoms—Friends-style sitcoms. He wasn’t really interested in tough stories.

Serwer: What happens to him now?

Lee: He’s being investigated by the South Korean intelligence agencies, like [the equivalent of] the CIA, and the military. There’s some sort of joint investigation group, that consists of South Korean-based intelligence officers, military officers, and South Korean national police, probably four or five South Korean government investigations involved.

Source : https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/lee-cook-jong-north-korea/550394/

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