A firing squad in North Korea executed a married couple who were trying to escape the country along with their 14-year-old nephew.
The two victims were revealed to be from the Ryanggang province near Chinese territory tried to cross the border earlier this month amid the quarantine restrictions, according to a source of Radio Free Asia.
Shot to the back
The couple were believed to be in their 50s and tried to bring their nephew to his parents, who also defected to South Korea.
"The boy's father, who escaped to South Korea, had asked his sister to bring his son to him," said one resident of Ryanggang who asked for anonymity.
The New York Post reported that North Korean border security had been tightened due to the coronavirus pandemic, which made any attempts to cross the region extremely dangerous and risky.
The captors tortured the two prisoners into confessing their plans about their escape before having a firing squad execute them for their "crimes." They spared their nephew, however, due to his young age.
The North Korean supreme leader has ordered the punishment of any person who tries to escape the country during the emergency period aimed to stifle the coronavirus infection.
The couple had no way to avoid their fates because they attempted to flee to South Korea.
One other Ryanggang resident who wished to remain anonymous said that the story of the couple has been spreading around the region.
The rumours state that two residents were shot to death as they were trying to escape the border and most people were shaken by the fact that they were killed for merely attempting to flee.
Residents expressed their frustrations to government officials as they state that trying to flee the country is not wrong, and even more amid current situations the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in which made it difficult to make ends meet.
North Korean officials reassured that its borders are free of the coronavirus infection and that it has internally lectured its citizens to inform them that three parts of the country are affected by the virus which includes the capital Pyongyang.
According to Daily Mail, North Korea's Kim Jong-un is trying to hide the severity of the coronavirus within his country to act strong and prevent any threat to their regime.
Cover-up to show strength
The director of Korean studies at the Center for National Interest, Harry Kazianis said, "Considering how there are many porous sections of the North Korea-China border and how the Kim regime depends on illegal trade to survive, it is clear the virus has come to North Korea."
A few South Korean media outlets have reported that the North has multiple cases of the coronavirus and that there is a possibility of deaths as well.
Former project manager for the World Health Organization (WHO), Nagi Shafik, said that malnourishment of North Korean citizens could lead to vulnerabilities to the virus. North Korea lacks necessary medicinal supplies and is even more challenging to obtain in rural regions, he added.