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17 family members defect from North Korea

defectors December 9, 1996
Web posted at: 12:20 p.m. EST (1720 GMT)

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- Seventeen members of a single family arrived in Seoul Monday after a six-week journey from North Korea, the largest group of defectors to leave the North since the Korean War.

The group, headed by an elderly couple, crossed the Chinese border on October 26, posing as a group of migrant laborers until they were smuggled to Hong Kong on November 23. There, they asked for political asylum.

Kim Kyong-ho and his wife Choi Hyon-sil were accompanied by their five sons and daughters, in-laws and five young grandchildren. They were met at the Seoul airport by relatives who live in the South.

Seoul Bureau Chief Sohn Jie-Ae and Reuters contributed to this report.


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