Kim Kwang-Jin and his family rushed to an airport in Southeast Asia in September 2003 to fly to freedom in Seoul, South Korea. Months earlier, Kim had lived a privileged life working for the North Korean regime’s overseas banking operations in Singapore. Then he fell out of favour, suspected of leaking information about the regime to foreign nationals. Before being summoned back to North Korea to face severe punishment, Kim made the decision to defect with his family.
During his banking career, Kim helped earn millions of dollars for what he calls North Korea’s “Royal Court Economy”, the enterprises and often illegal schemes that financially support the country’s totalitarian dictatorship.
Since defecting, Kim Kwang-Jin has helped expose the North Korean government’s underhanded financial practices. He has also become an advocate for North Korean freedom and human rights. He has worked at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul and as a columnist for Radio Free Asia.