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Interview

North Korean defector takes contrarian stance against bashing Kim

Hong Kang-cheol's message resonates as Seoul scraps permits of anti-North groups

Hong Kang-cheol, who arrived in South Korea in 2013, warns that Kim Jong Un's "god" status in North Korea means citizens see criticism of the leader as an attack on their beliefs. (Photo by Steven Borowiec)

SEOUL -- Hong Kang-cheol's first moment of shock came shortly after arriving in South Korea, while staying in a government-run facility for North Korean defectors.

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