SEOUL, May 25 (UPI) -- The three North Korean waitresses who fled a restaurant in China are either in Thailand or en route to Bangkok – where the South Korean Embassy frequently accepts refugees from the North.
The defectors had left from the same location near Xi'an in central China, but one woman was separated from the group while on the run, Yonhap reported Wednesday.
Two of the women who arrived in Thailand earlier are waiting at a detention facility where defectors stay in custody until their South Korea asylum applications are approved.
The two defectors are waiting for their third companion. Together, they will be transferred to South Korea, a source told Yonhap.
The three are expected to arrive in South Korea by June.
All three women, 28 and 29 years old, are from Pyongyang, according to the source.
The waitresses fled from a restaurant in the Chinese city of Weinan, about 40 miles from the historical city of Xi'an.
Jang Jin-sung, a defector in the South and founder of New Focus International, said the defectors worked at a restaurant in the city.
Jang said there was an "accident" on the escape that led to separation of one of the women from the rest of the group, according to South Korean news service CBS No Cut News.
Jang, who initially told local press the waitresses fled from a Shanghai location, said he intentionally altered information to protect the defectors.
The restaurant from where the defectors left shows no traces of a North Korean establishment, and is called a "shabu-shabu" restaurant in order to evade U.N. Security Council sanctions, according to Jang.