Before defecting, Jeoung used to cross the border illegally until he was caught and accused of being a spy. He was taken to a notorious political prison camp, Yodok.
“When I arrived at the prison camp it was april 6, 2000. It was awful when I went inside. That day they completely beat the hell out of me. They put a wooden stick behind your knees and make you sit down like this. If they push down on you, you collapse and then you hear your kneecaps cracking. I got beaten up and tortured for 9 months.
Before I got arrested I weighed about 165 pounds. After 10 months I had a physical. When I looked at what I weighed, it was 79 pounds. I couldn’t endure it anymore.”
After 3 years in Yodok, he said the authorities determined he wasn’t a spy, and let him out. A year later, he defected, and has been working against the regime ever since.
Tonight he is going back to the border. To smuggle in thumb drives of foreign films and TV shows into North Korea.
“The men prefer watching action films; the women enjoy watching soap operas and dramas. Now they’re sharing thumb drives; even officials have 1 or 2 thumb drives. North Korea is trying to hunt me down because the thing that changes people’s mindsets is popular culture. It probably has the most important role in bringing about democracy in North Korea.”