I told NK News what I think of his report (while I’m in the reserve forces training):
Joongang Ilbo, especially Lee Young-jong, has been writing these kind of reports, which cannot be confirmed nor have been confirmed hereafter, for some time. Just take a look at the list of his previous articles—he exactly shows what yellow (no racism intended) North Korea journalism is.
Since Mr. Lee quotes sources who are allegedly well aware of confidential defector information, they may be affiliated with the NIS, which supervises defector interrogation. An expert who is well-informed about the ROK intelligence community once told me that Mr. Lee is the “Naegok-dong pipeline.” (Naegok-dong is where the NIS office is located).
Mr. Lee’s long list of bold, sensationalistic reports sometimes makes me wonder whether he is being used as a tool of NIS psy-ops.
It’s a pity Joongang still publishes this kind of bullshit reporting.