The Korean Herald reports North Korean defectors are strongly opposing a South Korean government plan to require them to gain approval before making remittances to relatives in the cash-strapped state.They say that the approval process could put them and their loved ones in the North in dangerous situations and make brokers demand more money for delivering funds. They also say that since their remittances are made through “complicated multi-layered” procedures, it would be difficult to detect those sending money without approval.
“We have been scrimping on food, clothes and others to send some of the hard-earned money ― at most 1 million won ($917) ― to help our family, not the North Korean regime. The approval system is wrong,” a 43-year-old North Korean defector, who has taken asylum here since 1997, told the Korea Herald, declining to be named.
He also pointed out that the planned system may not be effective. “All these have so far taken place secretly. Who would ever like to willingly tell the authorities about their remittances at the risk of revealing their identities and those of their relatives in the North? One out of 10 may be willing,” he said.
North Korean defectors usually send their money through ethnic Chinese people here, who ask their Chinese relatives or acquaintances inside the North or near the North Korea-China border to deliver the money. The brokers are known to take 30 percent of the total remittances.
According to a survey by a private Seoul-based group, which was released early this year, nearly half of North Korean defectors here have sent money to their families in the North.