Three lumberjacks who escaped from a North Korean logging camp in Siberia have defected to South Korea and are seeking asylum, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
The North Koreans, who flew in Saturday, had been hiding in former Soviet republics, the ministry said. It did not say how long they had been hiding or from which country they had arrived.
An estimated 20,000 North Korean loggers work in Siberia. South Korean officials say 170 of them have escaped to Russia and China, complaining of insufficient food, clothing and medical care. Several dozen have received asylum in South Korea.