North Koreans telling their stories at churches in Auckland

A group of North Koreans have been visiting Auckland to share their experiences at churches around the city, spreading the word about their escape.

The group is part of a Christian mission led by a South Korean pastor Kwang Choi.

Park Sung Il a former North Korean labourer, remembers clearly the hazardous journey he had to make to escape the North.

“It was a freezing Korean winter’s evening in March, and I had to cross frozen Amrok River to get to China,” he said.

“I got injured and nearly died when a sharp sheet of floating ice floated towards me and pierced my body.”

In China, Park received help from Christian organisations to get to Thailand and then on to South Korea.

Some North Koreans have already made Auckland their home, and a Christian group is looking to set up a school for them.

They are being taught English, Bible study and given hands-on experience in integrating into Western society.

Bora Choe and Sue Park are two North Koreans who are being housed in a secret location in Auckland.

They are among a group of five women brought here by a Christian group Love Your Neighbour Charity Trust.

After escaping the North both had found starting over in the South to be difficult, challenging and alienating.

Choe dreams of becoming a Bible teacher and Park wants to be a nurse, and described their lives back in Kim Jong Un’s North Korea as a “living hell” and remain cynical about the regime’s intentions.


News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

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