Korea Balloon, Oct. 10, 2014
North Korean defectors in South Korea hold a balloon containing anti-Pyongyang leaflets as they prepare to release them near the demilitarized zone in Paju, Oct. 10, 2014. Reuters/Lim Byung-sik/Yonhap


  • Twenty large balloons were launched into North Korea by defector Park Sang-Hak and his activist group
  • Leaflets criticized Kim Jong Un for "ignoring" the North Korean people's suffering from disease and starvation
  • South Korea's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Park's activist group's leafleting activities

A high-profile North Korean defector has sent to North Korea nearly two dozen balloons carrying medicine and leaflets criticizing its leader Kim Jong Un.

Park Sang-Hak, along with his group Fighters for a Free North Korea (FFNK), launched the balloons containing anti-regime posters, vitamins and painkillers toward North Korea on May 5 after South Korea's Supreme Court ruled in his favor in a case about his cross-border leafleting, NK News reported.

In a statement Monday, Park said the FFNK sent "Tylenol, Vitamin C supplements, booklets, and anti-North Korean leaflets with 20 large balloons from Ganghwa Island," west of Seoul, South Korea.

The leaflets sent to North Korea contained messages criticizing Kim for "ignoring the people's suffering from disease and starvation while not stopping nuclear and missile provocations that threaten South Korea."

Attached to one of the balloons was a poster depicting a North Korean rocket as an ear of corn, as seen in videos and photos Park shared with the outlet.

Next to the rocket is an illustration of a North Korean man stating, "There goes my food," as well as a caricature of Kim saying he loves "nuclear missiles, regardless of my people starving to death."

Park's activist group vowed to continue their cross-border activities. The North Korean defector also revealed earlier this year his plans to use a drone to send flyers into the socialist state.

FFNK's move comes after South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that the revocation of the North Korean defector's activist group's legal status under the administration of former President Moon Jae-in was illegal.

The Supreme Court said the risk of a military conflict posed by activist activities at the border emanates from North Korea and not solely from the activists.

The high court also noted that leaflet distribution is protected by freedom of expression and assembly.

In 2020, Moon's administration canceled FNKK's "establishment permission" after it assessed that the group escalated the risk of a military conflict between the two warring Korean countries by sending hundreds of thousands of anti-Kim leaflets to North Korea.

Park's group has challenged the legality of the South Korean government's decision. However, lower courts sided with the previous administration.

Park was booked last year under allegations of violating the 2020 anti-leafleting law, which made sending anything into North Korea without government approval, including humanitarian goods such as vitamins or medicine, illegal, but it's unclear whether he and his group will face jail time or fines associated with breaking the law.

The Moon administration pushed for the legislation after North Korea blew up a joint liaison office with its southern neighbor due to defectors' plans to send anti-Kim propaganda leaflets across the heavily-armed border.

According to The Guardian, citing North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA, the destruction of the liaison office over anti-Pyongyang propaganda reflected "the mindset of the enraged people to surely force human scum and those, who have sheltered the scum, to pay dearly for their crimes."

Balloon propaganda campaigns are common in the Korean peninsula and date back to the Korean War.

The Telegraph reported that in 2012, the North Korean regime flew balloons over the border containing leaflets criticizing the South Korean defense ministry.

But in 2014, the balloon propaganda led to a firefight between the North and South Korean forces after Pyongyang soldiers fired at the balloons flying over the border.

A North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur