By Blain Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, November 18, 2007; Page A01
SEOUL — Brokers here are busily selling what they call “planned escapes” from North Korea.
Given enough money, the brokers say, they can now get just about anyone out of the dictatorial Stalinist state that human rights activists call the world’s largest prison.
A low-budget escape through China via Thailand to Seoul, which requires treacherous river crossings, arduous travel on foot and several miserable weeks in a Thai immigration jail, can cost less than $2,000, according to four brokers here.
A first-class defection, complete with a forged Chinese passport and an airplane ticket from Beijing to Seoul, goes for more than $10,000. From start to finish, it can take as little as three weeks.
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