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Much of what the world knows about North Korea and the Kim dynasty’s regime today originates from the brave testimonies of defectors. Those who have been able to flee the state often recall horrifying experiences from before their escape. Many attempt to cross the border into China before heading to freedom in South Korea. Of the successful few, several have shared their stories in an attempt to shed light on the highly secretive regime under Kim Jong-un and his father Kim Jong-il. The risk of telling these tales is great, with a number of them claiming to have been threatened and some believe they have been pursued by assassins. One defector made nine unsuccessful attempts to flee before she was able to cross the border and start a new life. She revealed heartbreaking details about the torture she suffered upon being caught and showed the scarring still present from those barbaric attacks.
Ms Lee served as nurse in the North Korean army for 11 years before she was able to escape the restrictive regime.
She recalled the brutal ways generals would hurt her for trying to flee the hermit state, during a 2014 interview with Australian TV show ‘Dateline’.
“These are my scars,” Ms Lee said, as she pulled part of her shirt down to reveal a faded wound mark, which was around the size of a tennis ball and directly below her right collarbone.
The defector explained: “When I was arrested, during my interrogation there was this hot plate with steel and they hit me with it here.”
She claimed this wasn’t the only scar she was left with, pointing to other parts of her body.
Ms Lee explained that “you’re naked when they torture you” during her brave testimony.
She said: “If you look at my back, I have dents from nails they hammered into me.
“They also poured hot water down my back, so I have scars from the burns.”
Ms Lee featured as part of a TV segment about North Korean defectors now living in South Korea.
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They included Yeon-mi Park, a young performer who was quickly becoming a star in the state for speaking out about the Kim dynasty’s regime.
Despite a detective telling her she was “seriously in danger” because of her comments, she “refused to cower” to threats from her former leader’s officials.
Ms Park said: “I’m very proud of my name, that’s why if I die I’m ok… I [have] already experienced this freedom so I’m satisfied.
“At least I can say that I did something for you, my people in North Korea.”
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