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North Korea fugitive captured in China after 40-day manhunt

North Korean national Zhu Xianjian, 39, was arrested again on Sunday following a 40-day manhunt. The Chinese police released a brief statement confirming that Zhu had been detained again. Zhu was sentenced to prison in the city of Jilin after fleeing to China from North Korea in 2013. Following his escape from prison, a large bounty was offered for information leading to his recapture. Beijing News released footage of Zhu on the night of October 19 climbing a prison shed and scaling its rooftop before launching himself over the nearest electric fence to freedom.

Zhu’s escape triggered a manhunt to recapture him and gathered widespread attention on Chinese social media. Authorities progressively increased the reward for information leading to his discovery. Zhu had initially been imprisoned on charges of illegal entry into China, robbery, and larceny after escaping from North Korea. Court records state that he had crossed a river separating North Korea and China in 2013 and subsequently raided several houses in a nearby village. Zhu allegedly stole money, clothes, and mobile phones. He also reportedly stabbed an elderly woman who discovered him and attempted to flee in a taxi before being arrested. At the time of his escape, Zhu had served nine years of his prison term and was two years away from being released and deported back to North Korea. There is speculation that Zhu fled prison to avoid being sent back to North Korea.

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