North Korean defector who escaped the DMZ under a hail of gunfire racked up $92,000 in medical bills

United Nations CommandA still from a video of Oh’s escape from North Korea.
  • The North Korean defector who made a daring escape across the Demilitarized Zone to South Korea had injuries and health problems, and treating him is likely to cost at least $US92,000.
  • Nobody knows who will foot the bill just yet.

The North Korean soldier who drove a jeep and ran across the Demilitarized Zone to defect to South Korea under a hail of gunfire has racked up an astounding 100 million won, or $US92,000, in medical bills – and nobody knows who will pay for it yet.

The man – identified by his surname, Oh, and believed to be 24 years old – made a daring escape last week during which he was shot multiple times before being rescued by South Korean forces and medically evacuated to a hospital by a US helicopter.

Once in the hospital, doctors found a variety of parasites in his tissues, including one the doctor had never encountered before.

“He has everything that he could have,” Lee Guk-jong, the physician who treated Oh, told the Korea Biomedical Review.

Since starting treatment, Oh has even developed an affinity for Western movies and South Korean pop.

But Oh’s recovery came at a massive price, but it’s unclear which agency will end up with the bill, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News.

“As the medical costs are unprecedentedly high, if relevant ministries make an official request for the issue, we plan to decide who will foot the bill through consultations,” Lee Eugene, a representative at South Korea’s unification ministry, told Yonhap at a press briefing.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.