North Korea defector learns to trust the stranger who saved him: He managed to escape North Korea only to be held against his will in China. A Seoul-based fiction writer risked her comfortable life to help.

Their unlikely relationship was forged along the underground railroad that moves North Korean refugees to China and then to Southeast Asian nations en route to South Korea.
Lee is not a missionary, social worker or for-profit broker, characters who people the way stations of the underground railroad. She’s a socially conscious writer with a comfortable life in Seoul who made risky trips to China to offer money and advice to a stranger.

Photo: Krys Lee, right, and Kim Yong-chul, a North Korean defector. Credit: Matt Douma / For The Times

North Korea defector learns to trust the stranger who saved him: He managed to escape North Korea only to be held against his will in China. A Seoul-based fiction writer risked her comfortable life to help.

Their unlikely relationship was forged along the underground railroad that moves North Korean refugees to China and then to Southeast Asian nations en route to South Korea.

Lee is not a missionary, social worker or for-profit broker, characters who people the way stations of the underground railroad. She’s a socially conscious writer with a comfortable life in Seoul who made risky trips to China to offer money and advice to a stranger.

Photo: Krys Lee, right, and Kim Yong-chul, a North Korean defector. Credit: Matt Douma / For The Times

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    Really moving story.
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