Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A North Korean man who surrendered to South Korea's military after defecting across the DMZ was caught on surveillance footage earlier Feb. 16 than previously reported.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that the man, who allegedly swam across the DMZ, was captured on cameras 10 times before actions was taken at 7:20 a.m., MoneyToday reported.
Local press reports suggested last week that the man may have been seen first on camera about 4:20 a.m. in the Civilian Control Zone in the East Sea, a DMZ buffer zone along the coast.
On Tuesday, the joint chiefs said the man appeared on footage as early as 1:05 a.m. Feb. 16, referring to recordings on four cameras in the area. Between 1:05 and 1:38 a.m., the man was seen five times, but South Korean guards did not take appropriate action, according to MoneyToday.
The South Korean navy's network of closed-circuit television cameras also recorded the man's movements three times between 4:12 and 4:14 a.m., but no alarms were triggered in response to the trespassing figure, the report said.
After the man was seen twice in footage recorded between 4:16 and 4:18 a.m. near Jejin Checkpoint in Goseong County, a soldier on duty "reported the situation," according to authorities.
Last week, Defense Minister Suh Wook apologized for the lapse. On Tuesday, Suh said the defector, who identified himself as a civilian, might not have turned himself in at the first checkpoint because he feared for his life, News 1 reported.
"From what we have confirmed so far, [the defector] said that he thought going into a military guard post could lead to repatriation, and he instead tried to find a civilian home," Suh said. "It appears he thought he could be shot by armed [South Korean] soldiers at a guard post."
South Korean authorities have declined to reveal the man's name or age. Revealing his age could place his family in North Korea in danger, a military source said, according to News 1.