Every now and then a visitor to this site asks whether there are any North Koreans in the UK, apart from at the DPRK embassy. Journalist Michael Rank keeps his eyes open for evidence, particularly on the parliamentary website, and shares his findings with the BAKS list – little snippets of information such as the fact that in 2006 North Korean diplomats clocked up 90 unpaid parking tickets.
Thanks to Aidan FC for pointing out an article on the Yonhap website yesterday, about two North Korean refugees who were jailed after having been caught working on a cannabis farm in Southport.
The source of the story was Radio Free Asia, who reported that one of the pair had previously been “offered a job growing plants for £220 a week, plus free accommodation and food, while working at a Korean grocery store in New Malden.”
About 850 people presumed to be North Korean defectors reside in Britain, among whom 450 or more have applied for refugee status. A total of 130 North Korean defectors were granted refugee status in Britain last year, but all of them had already obtained South Korean citizenship, according to a report by the U.S.-based radio broadcaster Voice of America.
The defectors are said to have chosen to live in Britain after failing to adapt to life in South Korea.
In the fourth quarter of 2007, 245 North Koreans applied for asylum in the UK, though according to a recent parliamentary written answer only one or two applications have been granted (the answer isn’t clear as to what period this covers). There are suspicions that many of the applicants are actually ethnic Koreans from the Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture in China.
- Two N. Korean defectors in Britain jailed after caught at cannabis farm, Yonhap, 2 August 2008
- Home Office asylum statistics
- Overseas student statistics at theyworkforyou.com