Laos returns 9 North Korean defectors to China: official

SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) -- Laos has sent nine North Koreans who fled their totalitarian homeland through China last month back to China, a Seoul official said Tuesday.

The nine North Korean defectors, aged between 15 and 23, were deported to China late Monday (local time) after being rounded up by the Lao authorities, the foreign ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.

"The government is checking the situation with regard to the North Korean defectors," the official said.

Laos has become one of the major transit points for North Korean defectors, who flee their homeland through China with the aim of eventually entering South Korea.

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