Seoul: China has installed a silent alarm
system inside every house in a border town as part of its
strengthened crackdown on fugitives from North Korea, a report
said on Friday.
The system is designed to let residents secretly send a
signal to police if North Korean escapees come to their houses
and ask for help, South Korea`s Yonhap news agency said.
It can transmit dialogue between the owner of a house and
visitors, and Chinese authorities plan to expand it into other
areas bordering the North, the agency said.
"If you push the red button on the wall, a signal goes
directly to a police station," Yonhap quoted one man as
The man said he saw the device during a recent trip to his
relative in the Yanbian border area in northeastern Jilin
Yonhap said China had stepped up a crackdown in border
areas since South Korea criticised its repatriation of dozens
of North Korean refugees in February and this month.
Almost all those fleeing the North cross first to China,
where they face repatriation if caught. Many hide out and then
travel on to Southeast Asian nations before flying to the
South for resettlement.
Seoul has repeatedly urged Beijing to treat fugitives from
the North as refugees and not to send them back, saying they
face harsh punishment. China says they are economic migrants
and not refugees deserving protection.
The UN refugee agency and rights watchdog Amnesty
International have also urged Beijing not to send refugees
back. Amnesty says returnees are sent to labour camps where
they are subject to torture.