A couple in their 50s has been executed by firing squad after being caught trying to flee North Korea with their teenage nephew amid COVID-19 lockdown.
According to the details, the couple, along with their 14-year-old nephew was trying to escape from their house in Ryanggang province during the strict lockdown imposed by the government to reunite with their relatives in South Korea.
Local residents on the condition of anonymity said that the couple wanted to bring their teenage nephew back to his parents in South Korea.
One resident said, “Earlier this month I heard from an acquaintance in the provincial security department that a family who tried to escape the country was shot to death.”
“They were arrested for attempting to escape [across] the border, which is now heavily controlled due to the national emergency quarantine against the coronavirus.”
The boy was the son of the wife’s younger brother, who had previously fled to the South, reports added, Mail Online reported.
He escaped execution because of his age but his uncle and aunt were shot without a trial after being tortured into admitting their plans, it was claimed.
The story of their death has spread around the region through word of mouth.
Before their escape attempt the couple had been having difficulties with their business because of the affect of coronavirus lockdown, locals said.
One said they were planning on fleeing across the Yalu river into China, before making their way South, but were arrested before they made it that far.
North Korean authorities have denied the existence of coronavirus outbreaks but have lectured citizens internally about pockets of infection, including in the capital Pyongyang.
North Korea has not yet confirmed any cases of the virus, but has closed the land border with China, which reported a total of 4,634 deaths from the outbreak – although it is widely believed the true extent of deaths has been covered up.