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China has set up a silent alarm system in every house in a town near the border with North Korea to try to arrest defectors, ethnic Koreans in China said Friday.
The crackdown came after North Korean defectors in China emerged as a high-profile issue in South Korea and the international community.
China has recently detained dozens of North Korean defectors and reportedly sent some back to their communist homeland where they could face harsh punishment, in defiance of international appeals.
The surveillance system is designed to allow local Chinese residents to secretly send a signal to police if North Koreans come to their houses to ask for help after crossing the border from the North, according to an ethnic Korean in China.
The ethnic Korean said he saw the device during a recent trip to his relative in the town in Yanbian, a Korean Autonomous Prefecture in northeastern China. The system also has a function that can transmit dialogue, such as between the owner of a house and North Korean defectors, he said, citing his relative.
Chinese police and border guards would dispatch personnel to the house to arrest the North Koreans on receipt of the alarm, he said.