North Korean defector Hyeonseo Lee reunited with the man who saved her family

Sometimes it is hard to believe we live in a world that divides families in half over something those families had nothing to do with.

TED Blog

A total stranger helped Hyeonseo Lee pay her mother and brother’s way out of jail as they fled from North Korea. Now, four years later, Lee has been reunited with that stranger, getting the chance to thank him in person.

[ted_talkteaser id=1694]In Lee’s TED2013 talk, “My escape from North Korea,” she describes defecting from North Korea in the late ’90s and how, after nearly ten years of living in hiding, she returned to help her family make their own escape. When her mother and brother were captured in Vientiane, Laos, and jailed for illegal border crossing, Lee describes how, out of money and desperate for a solution, she was approached by a foreigner. After hearing Lee’s story, this stranger withdrew a large sum of cash — £645 to be exact — from an ATM. With the money to use as a bribe, Lee’s family was able to escape.

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