SEOUL, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un appears to have renewed a crackdown on defectors, observers said.
North Korean border guards have been enforcing tighter border controls following the death of Kim Jong Il last month, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday from Seoul.
Media reports said three people were recently shot down as they attempted to defect from North Korea across the Yalu River into China.
Seoul's Joongang Daily newspaper reported North Korea has threatened to imprison or kill three generations of family left behind by escapees.
Observers say Kim appears to be concerned that an increase in defections could destabilize his fledgling hold on power, the Times reported.