South Korean Police Issue Arrest Warrant for Repatriated Man from North Korea

John Kim, Nov. 19, 2015, 8:11 a.m.

Prosecutors requested an arrest warrant Thursday for a South Korean man who was repatriated from North Korea earlier this week. The 48-year-old man, identified only by his surname Lee, was sent back to the South after crossing into the communist country through the border with China earlier this year without permission.

He is charged with violating the National Security Law, which prohibits South Korean citizens from contacting North Koreans without government approval. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office is questioning Lee over his motives and whereabouts in the North, as well as whether he had contact with North Koreans.

Lee was handed over to the South through the truce village of Panmunjom along the inter-Korean border on Tuesday. It was the third time the North has repatriated South Korean nationals so far this year, actions which are widely interpreted as a gesture of reconciliation. A local court will hold a hearing Friday to decide whether to approve the warrant.

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