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Your evening longread: The North Korean defector who vanished... then reappeared

We bring you an interesting longread each evening to take your mind off the news.

Image: Shutterstock/SevenMaps

EVERY WEEK, WE bring you a round-up of the best longreads of the past seven days in Sitdown Sunday.

And now, every weeknight, we bring you an evening longread to enjoy which will help you to escape the news cycle. 

We’ll be keeping an eye on new longreads and digging back into the archives for some classics.


Lim Ji-hyun defected from North Korea at 23. She gained many fans after sharing her story – but then she vanished. 

(Marie Claire, approx 30 mins reading time)

As if the smear campaign wasn’t chilling enough, the fact that Lim was possibly abducted has affected everyone on the North Korean–defector celebrity circuit. “We thought we were safe in Seoul, but suddenly we felt that we had to look over our shoulders all the time,” says Sun-hi. “It was terrifying not knowing what had happened to her.” Kim has toughened punishments for anyone involved in defections. According to the Seoul-based Korea Institute for National Unification, which produces an annual report on human rights in the North, penalties range from being shot and killed to being sent to a hard-labor camp for five or more years. “Everyone knows that going to a labor camp is basically a death sentence. There is no food or medicine, and people freeze to death in winter,” says Sun-hi. “Being recaptured is our very worst nightmare.”

Read all the Evening Longreads here> 

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