Lim Hye-jin still shivers at the memory of two brothers who managed to escape briefly from her massive concentration camp in the mountains of North Korea. Seven family members were killed on the spot in revenge. Scores more prisoners were savagely beaten as collective punishment for the breakout.
Several weeks later, guards and inmates were ordered to gather as the pair – their bodies battered from torture – were dragged back behind the barbed wire. They had been caught in China and returned to the repressive regime.
‘The two brothers were beheaded in front of everyone,’ said Lim. ‘They called everyone to watch as a warning not to flee. The other prisoners then had to throw stones at them.’