- The North Korean defector who made a daring escape across the DMZ to South Korea had horrendous injuries and health problems, and treating him will probably cost $92,000 or more.
- Nobody knows who will foot the bill just yet, but it likely depends on whether or not the defector has classified information on North Korea.
The North Korean soldier who drove a jeep and ran across the DMZ to defect to South Korea under a hale of gunfire racked up an astounding 100 million won, or $92,000 in medical bills — and nobody knows who will pay for it yet.
The 24 year-old man known by his surname, Oh, made a daring escape where he was shot at least four times before being rescued by South Korean forces and medically evacuated to a hospital by a US helicopter.
Once in the hospital, doctors found a variety of parasites living in his tissues, including one parasite the doctor had never encountered before.
Oh lived, and even developed an affinity for Western movies and South Korean pop while bedridden. “He has everything that he could have,” Lee Guk-jong, the physician who treated Oh told the Korea Biomedical Review.
But Oh’s recovery came at a massive price, and the agency that ends up with the bill depends on whether or not Oh has classified information on North Korea, according to Yonhap News.
“As the medical costs are unprecedentedly high, if relevant ministries make an official request for the issue, we plan to decide who will foot the bill through consultations,” Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at South Korea’s unification ministry, told Yonhap at a regular press briefing.