Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 17:56 UK

Man flees N Korea after 33 years


A South Korean fisherman who says he was kidnapped by North Korea more than three decades ago has escaped.

Yun Jong-su, 66, is in South Korean custody in China waiting to return home, said Choi Sung-yong, head of an abductees' association.

Mr Yun says he was captured along with 32 other crew members while fishing off South Korea's eastern coast in 1975.

Since then he has married and now says he fears for the safety of his wife and daughter in North Korea.

Mr Yun is said to have escaped from North Korea into China in May, taking refuge at the South Korean consulate in the Chinese city of Shenyang.

He is now awaiting passage back to South Korea, said Mr Choi.

But Mr Yun fears his wife and daughter - who he had hoped would follow him - have been arrested since his escape, Mr Yun told the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo in an interview.

'Overwhelmed with joy'

Mr Yun says he has worked in a farming machinery factory in Kaechon, a city in central North Korea, since his kidnapping.

Mr Yun's brother, Ju-seung, told AP news agency: "I am overwhelmed with joy... since I came to know that my younger brother is still alive."

Some 480 civilian South Koreans - mainly fishermen - are thought to have been taken by the North.

In addition, more than 500 prisoners of war from the 1950-53 Korean War were never repatriated, according to the South Korean government.

The North denies holding any South Koreans against their will.

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