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Ingwang-ri in North Korea's North Hamgyong
Province viewed from Helong, China
Five North Koreans were shot dead and two others wounded by North Korean border guards on the Chinese side of the border when they tried to flee North Korea, a source said January 9. The high-level source in Changbai in the Chinese province of Jilin said the seven individuals left Hyesan, Yanggang Province, and walked across the frozen Apnok (or Yalu) River and reached the Chinese side on December 14. Five of them died instantly under intense gunfire by North Korean border guards who ran after them. The two others were wounded and taken to the North.

North Korean border guards have never before shot at defectors once they reached the Chinese side. Observers say guards must have new instructions for dealing with defectors. Leader Kim Jong Il's son and heir, Kim Jong Un, has apparently ordered border guards to shoot anyone who crosses the border rivers without permission. He also reportedly said he would not tolerate defectors crossing the border. Reportedly, North Korean border guards are now armed with an AK-47 rifles with 40 reserve shells and hand grenades.

While there is no reason to suspect that those who were killed were Christian, certainly everyone who crosses the border illegally will be impacted by this shocking change in security measures.

Please pray that those living in hopelessness in this restrictive nation will find hope in Christ. Pray for believers in North Korea who follow Jesus at great risk. Pray for all those in authority in this nation; ask the Lord to open their eyes to the wisdom, compassion and the light of the gospel. Pray Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un will repent of their evil deeds and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.

To learn more about the persecution of North Korean visitors, go to the North Korea Country Report.