The man, who fled to South Korea in 2018, was suspected of breaking into a military training site in the border town of Cheorwon on Thursday on his way back to Kim Jong-un’s secretive state. He was reported to have had four mobile phones and a cutting machine when he was caught. Police said the man defected to the South two years ago and had been staying in the capital of Seoul, but did not provide any further details on his identity.
A policewoman said: “The man is under police investigation. We are looking into details such as why he tried to cross the border.”
The officer could not confirm the date of the arrest.
The latest arrest comes after a 24-year-old defector returned to North Korea in July via the route he initially left by.
He went through a drainage ditch and swam across the Han River to the North.
This sparked the Government into action, who launched an investigation into the military unit responsible for the crossing.
It is against national security law to enter the North without state approval.
Defectors returning to North Korea have come under the spotlight over recent weeks after Pyongyang claimed someone suspected of suffering from coronavirus symptoms crossed the inter-Korean border and returned to his hometown.
The ministry in charge of affairs between the two counties had said a total of 11 North Korean defectors have returned to their communist homeland over the past five years.
The lockdown order also referenced the “illegal border crossing” into Samjiyon.
Daily NK reported the order added the authorities would maintain a “top class national emergency anti-epidemic system” with “a strong lockdown” until separate orders to lift the measures are given.
The lockdown order also asked for local authorities in the two cities to place a “special guidance management implementation system” to take care of local citizens.