Activist Resumes Sending Balloons to N. Korea

Park Sang-hak says he sent 1M leaflets over border
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 28, 2022 4:17 AM CDT
Activist Says He Sent 1M Leaflets to N. Korea by Balloon
Plastic bags containing leaflets are displayed at the border town of Gimpo, South Korea.   (Courtesy of Fighters For A Free North Korea via AP)

(Newser) – A South Korean activist said Thursday he launched a million propaganda leaflets by balloon into North Korea this week, in his first such campaign while standing trial for past leafleting under a contentious new law that criminalizes such actions. The law that took effect in March 2021 and punishes anti-Pyongyang leafleters with up to three years in prison has been hotly debated in South Korea, with critics saying Seoul's liberal government is sacrificing freedom of speech to improve ties with rival North Korea, the AP reports

Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector-turned-activist, said he resumed his leafleting campaign this week after halting such activities for a year during a police investigation and court trial for sending balloons across the border in April last year. The trial is continuing and no verdict has been issued. On Monday and Tuesday, his group floated 20 huge balloons carrying leaflets critical of North Korea’s nuclear program and the Kim family's hereditary rule across the tense Korean border, Park said.

Park said the balloons also contained pictures of South Korea’s incoming conservative president, Yoon Suk Yeol, to show North Koreans the difference between the South’s election system and the North’s father-to-son succession. Police in Gyeonggi province, who have jurisdiction over the border areas where Park claimed to have launched the leaflets, said they were checking details about Park’s activities. They said they weren’t aware of Park’s reported leafleting in advance. Park claimed some of his leaflets flown this week reached Pyongyang and other North Korean cities. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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