Brian lived a rare life in North Korea—a university education and a full stomach—but life became increasingly hard for his family as it was for most North Koreans outside of Pyongyang, because the government was no longer giving out rations or any compensation for work. University was an especially difficult time because his parents couldn’t afford to send him additional money. Brian’s father worked as a broker for extra money, helping desperate North Koreans to defect into China, but his family’s life was abruptly shattered when his father was outed in the newspaper as someone who had helped a high profile defector escape.
Brian’s father and mother fled immediately into China, and he followed his parents soon thereafter but was caught immediately upon arrival by Chinese police. He spent the next 2 weeks in detention in China where he was routinely beaten before being bribed out of prison by his parents’ friends. Finally, with LiNK’s assistance, he was safely brought to the shelter in Southeast Asia where he reunited with his parents.
Brian and his parents reside in South Korea, but they are haunted by thoughts of their daughter, who had trekked to the border with her older brother but refused to cross the river for fear of being caught and repatriated. They are still eagerly waiting to hear word from home about her.
UPDATE: July 2013
Brian is a university student who finds his classes interesting because they challenge his beliefs, but maybe that’s not a bad thing since he wants to be a journalist with a broad worldview. He’s going to study hard this summer to improve his English language skills, because he wants to write about North Korea to an international audience in the future.
UPDATE: October 2013
Brian is trying to figure out his career path like any other college student. He wants to either work for the Ministry of Unification or be a journalist. Regardless of what he decides to do, he wants to contribute to solving the North Korea crisis.
He is a big fan of LiNK’s Bridge Campaign and especially loves the way in which North Koreans are portrayed as game changers who have potential and can achieve freedom rather than needy and helpless victims.
UPDATE: November 2013
Brian and the Resettlement Coordinators had a blast playing ping pong together. Growing up in North Korea, ping pong was one of his favorite sports to play, but he hasn’t been able to play it that much after leaving escaping years ago, so they played until everybody was exhausted. He also wants to play soccer and basketball, which he used to enjoy playing in North Korea as well.
UPDATE: March 2014
Brian got married! His wife is also a resettled North Korean refugee. He feels more responsible now that he’s someone’s husband and feels he has one more reason to try his best to achieve his life goals.
UPDATE: August 2014
Brian’s wife is pregnant and they couldn’t be happier! His parents, who were also rescued by LiNK, are elated to see their family in South Korea growing.
UPDATE: November 2014
Brian gave an interview about his life since resettling in South Korea for our fall campaign.
Check it out here.