27 North Koreans return home, 4 remain in South


SEOUL — South Korea repatriated on Sunday 27 of 31 North Koreans who had drifted to the South across the tense sea border last month, Seoul officials said. The North Koreans were sent home in their boat across the border off the peninsula’s west coast at about 0400 GMT, the South’s coast guard said, after bad weather and a crippled vessel delayed their return. The other four who have expressed a wish to stay were taking steps to officially defect to the capitalist South, said a spokeswoman for Seoul’s unification ministry, which handles cross-border affairs.

The fishing boat carrying the 11 North Korean men and 20 women drifted across the disputed Yellow Sea border in thick fog on Feb. 5.