Who Is Park Eunmi? North Korean Woman Smuggled Herself to China in Search of Better Future

North Korean defector revealed her seven years of struggle and the nightmare she faced before and after leaving the secretive country

North Korea is the only country that has kept itself completely detached from other nations, even at a time when Kim Jong Un was rumored to be gravely ill or dead. But the defectors of North Korea have helped to showcase a better picture of the supreme leader's top-secret regime.

People who have been able to talk about their experiences while living under the Kim dynasty's rule have helped the world to know more about the hermit state.

Park Eunmi, is one such defectors who had spent several years in hiding after she smuggled herself across the North Korean border into China and now she has revealed how barbaric gangs in China play a crucial role in exploiting defectors.

The story of North Korean defector

North Korea Defector
Park Eunmi YouTube/ SBS Dateline

Eunmi explained the difficulties she had to face after escaping from North Korea, at the time when Kim Jong Un's father Kim Jong Il used to rule the state. She was the only one from her family to leave the country.

Eunmi was feared dead for over seven years after authorities claimed she had been killed as she fought-off rapists. But in reality, she was living in a Chinese city that shares border with North Korea. She revealed now that a restaurant owner exploited her and when she tried to escape, a gang was instructed to either kill her or have her deported.

In an episode on the Australian show 'Dateline', Eunmi said, "They'd say, 'We know you're from North Korea, you should be grateful that we even let you work here. Don't even think about money,' that meant I wouldn't be paid for my work."

She also added that "it was like a nightmare. I had people chasing me, I knew they would kill me if they caught me. I just knew. That was the main reason I decided to come to South Korea."

Kim Jong un
Twitter / @DomoShow

Searching for a peaceful life

Before gaining asylum in South Korea in January 2014, her family believed that she is no more but they did not give up hope as they continued to give several interviews in TV channels just to make sure that the message reaches Eunmi. In South Korean capital, Seoul, which is currently facing a surge in Coronavirus cases, Eunmi and her family finally reunited after seven years.

North Korean human rights activist and well-known personality, Park Yeon-mi who is the sister of Eunmie explained that there were "no words" to describe how she felt after they were reunited. She said, "I couldn't speak, I was so happy but shocked."

Park Yeon-mi
Park Yeon-mi, North Korean human rights activist Wikimedia commons

At that time, Eunmi revealed that it was her father who encouraged her to leave North Korea who was employed by the Workers' Party of Korea. But later he became disillusioned and was tortured numerous times before he fled the country. She decided to leave before the rest of her family.

But after escaping from North Korea, her father died of cancer in China. Eunmi said that once her father had told them, "You have no hope and future in North Korea. If you want to find the hope, you will have to leave and go to China." But in China also she did not find the peace of mind which she was seeking.