Jeon had woken Kim up at midnight and taken her through the route he had planned. He had packed two backpacks the night before, containing food and spare clothes, plus a knife and poison. He wasn’t taking any chances.
Surviving capture wasn’t an option. A show trial in North Korea and execution would almost certainly be the punishment – particularly since the guard was absconding with a prisoner. “I knew I had only that night. If I didn’t make it that night I would be captured,” says Jeon Gwang-jin, 26.
Together they jumped from a window and dashed across the detention center’s exercise yard. Ahead of them lay a high fence that they would have to scale, and the fear that the guards’ dogs, which they could hear barking, would give them away.