I could probably get more in-depth info with a couple of phone calls, but I wouldn't be able to post it...
Not surprising that the commies are squawking more over the mass defections of the staff of restaurants than they are over a Reconnaissance Bureau Colonel or embassy staff, they wouldn't want to admit to the latter.
That article ends with many links to further info, but here are some more:
- Defections Rock North Korea - The Daily Beast
- North Korea calls mass defection 'kidnapping'
- Before defecting, North Korean waitresses shopped for backpacks | Reuters
- North Korea Threatens South Korea Over 13 Defectors - The New York Times
- Defector TV: the North Korean escapees who sparked a craze | Television & radio | The Guardian
What's the big deal with north Korean restaurants? The commies need hard currency. They used to get it running Pachinko parlors in Japan, until the Yakuza moved in. (I leave it to you to decide what it says about an allegedly ruthless dictatorship's intelligence/assassination bureau when it gets run out of a business by the mob.)
Anyway, the government started opening restaurants in supposedly supportive countries, staffed by allegedly loyal subjects, who discovered that life outside Chosun wasn't all that bad... in fact, it beats the hell out of the worker's paradise...
And then the host countries stopped the transfer of the hard currency.
And then the staff pops up on TV in the Republic of Korea...