Civic activists in South Korea say a Korean-American pastor has drowned while trying to help a group of North Koreans defect.
The Seoul-based missionary group Durihana Mission says 62-year-old Jeffrey Bahk was swept away in January as he tried to swim across the Mekong River from Burma to Laos with six North Koreans.
A spokesman for the missionary group said Thursday the North Koreans passed through China, Laos and Burma on their way to South Korea.
He said the six, who had been detained in Burma for illegal entry, were now in South Korea. Mr. Bahk had met the defectors in Jilin and Yanji in China.
He had planned to take them to Thailand and petition the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to help them defect to South Korea.
Information for this report is provided by AP.