Escape From North Korea

Chien-Chi Chang Cross-shaped posts carrying telephone wires edge a bunker on the Tumen River. Soldiers here are ordered to shoot anyone trying to sneak in or out of North Korea. North Korea. 2007. © Chien-Chi Chang | Magnum Photos
Chien-Chi Chang In the border city of Yanji, a missionary cautiously looks for North Koreans needing help on their long journey to freedom. Yanji, China. 2007. © Chien-Chi Chang | Magnum Photos
Chien-Chi Chang This North Korea defector stole across the frozen Tumen at night. In China, he hid in a church shelter, fearing arrest and deportation. Yang, China. 2007. © Chien-Chi Chang | Magnum Photos
Chien-Chi Chang North Korean Defectors braced themselves against carsickness as their guide drove them along back roads, dodging police checkpoints near the Laos border. Women currently account for 80 percent of N (...)
Chien-Chi Chang Under all-seeing eyes on a billboard in a Beijing rail station, Chinese police hunt for North Koreans attempting to escape cross-country by train. Police crackdowns can net hundreds of victims. Bei (...)
Chien-Chi Chang Lacking legal documents, This North Korean defector eluded official questioning during his harrowing 40-hour rail journey (Beijing-Kunming) by pretending to be asleep or intoxicated. China. 2007. © Chien-Chi Chang | Magnum Photos
Chien-Chi Chang After an anxious crossing (of the Mekong River), two female defectors huddled in the back of a vehicle that met them on the Thai shore. A day later both women reached Bangkok, where they requested (...)
Chien-Chi Chang Too exhausted to celebrate their exit from China, escapees rested briefly after 16 hours of hiking over mountains and through jungle. Still vulnerable to arrest in Laos, the defectors changed into (...)
Chien-Chi Chang Darkness settles over the Mekong River, providing cover for North Koreans who slip over in boats from Laos to Thailand. Thailand. 2008. © Chien-Chi Chang | Magnum Photos
Chien-Chi Chang Days after reaching South Korea, A North Koran defector (center) had surgery for thyroid cancer. Outside her hospital room, overcome with gratitude, she prays with refugee Hana Kim, and Chun Ki-won (...)
Chien-Chi Chang A busload of illegal workers from Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) enters an immigrant detention center. They'll join hundreds of North Koreans who have turned themselves in, hoping to be sent on to So (...)
Chien-Chi Chang The North Korean defector who escaped from China, traveled through Laos and reached Thailand for political asylum, is finally accepted by South Korean government and ready to start a new life in hi (...)