NORTH KOREA DENIES EXECUTIONS OF CITIZENS REPATRIATED FROM SOUTH
February 21, 2008: North Korea blasted rumours that its citizens who were returned by South Korean authorities earlier this month were executed, claiming that the rumour is an "anti-North Korea plot" by South Korea's extreme conservatives. Two fishing boats carrying 22 North Koreans, 14 women and eight men including three teenagers, drifted into western waters off South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island on February 8.
The North Koreans were residents of Kangnyeong County, a southern coastal province of South Hwanghae, who went to sea to collect clams and oysters without a permit from the North Korean maritime agency, according to the intelligence service.
"Our people, who drifted due to high seas, flatly rejected an enticement (by South Korea) that they would be guaranteed a wealthy livelihood if they defected to the South, and now live normal lives in their homes after returning," said a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a mouthpiece for the North's ruling Workers' Party. (Sources: BBC, 21/02/2008)