North Korean fugitive captured after 40 days on the run in China

The charges against Zhu Xianjian also include larceny and robbery after fleeing North Korea in 2013 (Getty Images/ Image used for representational purpose only)

China has recaptured a North Korean man who was on the run for more than a month after escaping from a prison, Chinese police said.

Zhu Xianjian, who was sentenced to prison in China’s Jilin, was seen in captivity by China’s authorities after he was caught on Sunday morning.

Visuals shared on social media showed a pale-looking Xianjian being carried by police officials. Another still showed him in a frail and unconscious position with his hands tied behind his back.

The 39-year-old has been on the run for nearly a decade after he fled from North Korea to China in 2013. He attempted to flee again from the Chinese prison last month on 19 October by climbing a prison shed and its rooftop.

The visuals from the state media showed him fleeing the prison after crossing the nearest electric fence as prison guards chase him in an unsuccessful attempt.

Chinese authorities had launched a manhunt for Xianjian by fixing a bounty of 700,000 yuan (£82,000) for information on him and his whereabouts, reported the BBC.

Xianjian was convicted of illegal entry into China after which he was sent to prison in 2013. The charges against him also include larceny and robbery after fleeing North Korea.

He had entered China by crossing a river and raiding several houses on the way, stealing money, mobile phones and clothes, the report added citing court records. The fugitive is also accused of stabbing an elderly woman who had found him escaping from the area.

Following this, China had sentenced him to 11 years in prison. Xianjian was expected to be deported to North Korea in 2023.

He could have fled the jail in a desperate bid to avoid being sent back to North Korea, the report said.

At least 1,100 North Koreans are held in China, according to a report by Human Rights Watch in July.

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