About a hundred former North Korean soldiers, who escaped to South Korea, held a public demonstration where they announced a campaign to use cell phone connections along the North Korea/China border, to connect with current North Korea soldiers and organize a revolution against the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. The demonstration included a simulated firing squad executing someone dressed up as Kim Jong Il.
Getting North Korean soldiers to use Chinese cell phones on the border (where Chinese cell towers provide a good signal for several kilometers into North Korea), is not without peril. Three years ago, North Korean police began using German cell phone signal detectors, to find and arrest those illegally using cell phones near the Chinese border. Because it is possible to get a signal there, the government sees this as a major security leak.
People can say whatever they want using Chinese cell phone service, and the government is determined to stop this phone traffic. There are believed to be dozens of the German detectors in use, with teams (consisting of several dozen secret police agents) moving through neighborhoods and hauling away those found with cell phones. The detectors are small enough to fit in a pocket, so the secret police teams are fairly inconspicuous. The cell phone users are usually engaged in commercial activities, or simply communicating with friends and family. Some North Koreans have established a lucrative business by selling North Koreans access to relatives in China, South Korea or elsewhere, via calls on these phones. The government wants to stop all of this. So far, the effort has been unsuccessful, even though punishment for illegal cell phone use has been increased year by year.
The North Korea veterans in South Korea also plan to smuggle publications and videos to North Korean soldiers, exposing the full extent of the damage the communist government has done in the north. While only 19,000 North Koreans have made it to South Korea since 1953, the number has been increasing in the last few years. Over half a million North Koreans have made it to China, but they must get to Thailand, where they can reach a South Korean embassy that will get them to South Korea. Few North Korea refugees in China can afford the trip (or the risk of being caught by Chinese police and sent back to North Korea, and possible execution). The million troops in the North Korean armed forces are known to be suffering from plunging morale. One major cause is food shortages, something that had never hit the military before.
This public effort by former North Korean soldiers in South Korea will, at the very least, cause some sleepless nights among North Korean commanders.