Soldier who defected from North Korea 'really likes American movies'

Adam Parris-Long, News Reporter

A North Korean soldier who defected to the South is a "nice guy" who "really likes American movies", a doctor has said.

The solider was shot four times by his former comrades as he escaped over the border at Panmunjom last week, but was pulled to safety by South Korean troops and airlifted in a US helicopter.

He has since been treated at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, where doctors worked for days to remove shards of four bullets in his body and treat pre-existing conditions, including tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and a case of massive intestinal worms .

Lee Guk-jong, who leads the team treating the soldier, said the defector has been introduced to Western culture and showed a particular liking for blockbuster films Transporter 3, Bruce Almighty and TV series CSI.

Mr Lee said: "We are mainly showing him movie channels on TV, and he really likes American movies."

The surgeon added that he played the soldier three versions of a South Korean girl band song.

"I asked him which version he liked the most, and he said he liked the original version the most," Mr Lee said.

"He likes female idol groups a lot. The other two bands (who sing different versions of the song) are all men."

The defector, believed to be a staff sergeant in his mid-20s, is being guarded by South Korean special forces and is known only by his surname, Oh.

Oh has had nightmares about returning to Kim Jong Un's regime and told doctors he "would never ever go back to the military system again", Mr Lee said.

The surgeon added: "He told me that he is so thankful for South Koreans for saving his life and giving him (12 litres of) blood.

"The patient has to undergo a process over the next week in which he starts eating very thin rice gruel, then a bit thicker rice gruel, and then porridge."

Most North Korean defectors are questioned by Seoul's intelligence agency before being sent to a resettlement centre for a three-month course on life in the South.

After their release they are given 7m won (£4,850) over 12 months, while police are assigned to ensure their safety.

Mr Lee said South Korean military officials were eager to question Oh, but were told to wait until the solider recovers.

He said: "This North Korean guy is not going anywhere. He is staying in South Korea. So we don't need to be hasty."

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