An American soldier is believed to have been taken into North Korean custody after laughing and crossing the border.
The U.S. service member crossed the border between North and South Korea via the demilitarized zone, which is operated by the United Nations Command. They confirmed on Tuesday (16 July) that an identified male U.S. national had crossed into North Korea.
According to CBS, a U.S. official explained that the soldier was being escorted back from Korea to the United States for disciplinary reasons, but they ran off after going through airport security.
Allegedly, that person made their way to a border tour that was underway, when the incident occurred.
The U.N. Command said in a statement: “A U.S. National on a JSA orientation tour crossed, without authorization, the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident.”
According to one eye-witness who was part of the border tour group, “this man gives out a loud ‘ha ha ha’ and just runs in between some buildings”.
The witness explained to CBS that military personnel at the border acted quickly, but initially, there was some confusion about the man’s actions.
They said: “I thought it was a bad joke at first, but when he didn't come back, I realized it wasn't a joke, and then everybody reacted and things got crazy.”
They allege there were no visible North Korean soldiers at the time the man ran across.
“I'm telling you this because it actually hit me quite hard. It was on the way back in the bus, and we got to one of the checkpoints.... Someone said we were 43 going in and 42 coming back,” the witness said.
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