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Report: North Korea soldier has no recollection of daring escape

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: North Korea soldier has no recollection of daring escape
The North Korea soldier who risked his life while escaping to the South in November is suffering from memory loss, South Korean sources say. File Photo courtesy of U.N. Command/Yonhap

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The North Korean soldier who ran for the border in a dramatic escape caught on video on Nov. 13 is suffering from memory loss, sources close to the patient say.

Oh Chong Song, the young defector who survived gunfire and sustained life-threatening injuries is convalescing at Korean Armed Forces Capital Hospital south of Seoul, local news network MBN reported Thursday.

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Oh's condition has substantially improved but he is showing symptoms of "psychological instability," according to the report.

Local investigators have only been permitted access, one hour at a time, in the morning and again in the afternoon.

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The defector may be showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, and could not recall the escape, according to South Korean intelligence officials who spoke to MBN.

The joint South Korean investigation team said it has confirmed Oh was a driver working for the general staff of the North Korean military.

He was also working as a driver assigned to a senior North Korean officer at Panmunjom.

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Oh, 25, was born in Changpung County in North Hwanghae Province, not far from the North Korean city of Kaesong, the site of a shuttered joint factory park.

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His father was also in the military, according to South Korean press reports.

Oh has previously said he defected after "watching South Korean [television] dramas or listening to South Korean songs."

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A local investigation official said the probe is to continue while keeping a check on the patient's health.

North Korea is increasingly isolated, despite reports China may be selling oil to North Korean vessels.

Yonhap reported Thursday the New Yalu River Bridge remains blocked and unused despite being completed three years ago.

China and North Korea may be at loggerheads, after North Korea asked Beijing to cover more of the costs of building the border bridge in October, a source told Yonhap.

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