Shin Dong-hyuk was born inside Kaechon #14, one of the world’s harshest labor camps. His parents were North Korean prisoners, allowed to be together a few times a year as a reward for hard work. Shin was so steeped in the values of the camp that when he heard his mother and brother planning to escape, he reported them to the guards and then watched, untroubled, as they were executed. He was tortured and starved until he broke out of the camp at age 23. His reason for risking his life at the camp’s electrified fence wasn’t freedom; it was food. From Reason’s March issue, Todd Krainin interviews Shin Dong-hyuk about his escape.
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