NoKor de­fec­tor in crit­i­cal con­di­tion

Tempo - - News -

SEOUL (Reuters) – A North Korean soldier shot while de­fect­ing to the South has un­der­gone sev­eral sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures and is in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion, South Korea’s gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary said on Tues­day, with doc­tors ex­pect­ing to save him.

“Un­til this morn­ing, we heard he had no con­scious­ness and was un­able to breathe on his own but his life can be saved,” said Suh Wook, chief di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was brief­ing law­mak­ers re­gard­ing Mon­day’s event.

Five bul­lets had been ex­tracted from the soldier’s body so far, leav­ing an es­ti­mated two inside, Suh added.

Lee Cook-jong, the sur­geon in charge of the soldier’s treat­ment, told re­porters ear­lier on Tues­day his con­di­tion was crit­i­cal due to in­testi­nal dam­age caused by the bul­lets.

The soldier had sped to­wards the bor­der in a ve­hi­cle when a wheel came loose, forc­ing him to escape on foot un­der fire from four North Korean sol­diers who shot around 40 rounds at him, Suh said.

North Korea’s mil­i­tary took ac­tion when the de­fec­tor was spot­ted in the four wheel drive head­ing to­wards the bor­der alone, Roh Jae-cheon, a spokesman for the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a me­dia brief­ing on Tues­day.

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