Kim Ryo Hui, a North Korean defector, tearfully begged to be returned to North Korea on Thursday during a United Nations conference, according to Reuters.
During the conference, Kim tearfully interrupted with her own testimony.
"I’m a citizen of Pyongyang of the Democratic Republic of Korea," the woman wept. "I have been forcefully detained in the South for seven years."
What was the news conference about?
Tomas Ojea Quintana, a senior U.N. human rights official, during the conference revealed that he was investigating North Korean allegations that restaurant workers from China were abducted and taken to South Korea, where they were forced to remain.
During the news briefing, Quintana explained that he received testimonies from various people in his office that showed inconsistencies in what reportedly occurred.
According to North Korea's allegations, 12 waitresses were abducted. A manager reportedly tricked the waitresses into leaving China for South Korea. North Korea has demanded the women be returned, but Seoul officials said that the women entered South Korea voluntarily and were admitted to the country on humanitarian grounds.
What's Kim Ryon-Hui's history?
According to a 2015 CNN report, Kim left North Korea — where her husband, daughter, and parents lived — in 2011. Prior to her defection, Kim was hospitalized for liver disease in North Korea. She left her country to visit relatives in China, where she also intended to seek out more advanced treatments for her condition.
Kim, despite finding a job in Shenyang, found that she could not afford treatment, which was not free, unlike medical treatment in North Korea.
She left China and traveled to South Korea, after a broker told her that the job market was stronger there.
CNN reported that Kim did not plan to remain in South Korea indefinitely and was not aware that she would be unable to return home.
"I was thinking of recovering completely before returning to my aging parents. I wanted to return home in healthy state. So I said I will go to South Korea for two months and earn the money and get myself treated," CNN reported.
When Kim arrived at a South Korean processing center, she was told to renounce communism and agreed to follow South Korean rules. As a result of her agreement, she became a South Korean citizen.
In an attempt to return to Pyongyang, Kim falsely claimed that she was a North Korean spy, but instead of being deported, she was jailed.
Kim was sentenced to two years for espionage and passport fraud.
She told CNN, "There is nothing else for me to say but I am sorry. I didn't even imagine that I would create such a huge problem."