North Korean athletes are reportedly being guarded round the clock at the Winter Olympics in a bid to stop them from defecting.
About 500 North Koreans are in PyeongChang in South Korea for the Games, including athletes, officials, cheerleaders but also security officials, minders and informants, CNN reports.
Security guards will be keeping guard over athletes at all times to ensure no-one defects to the South, a former North Korean police officer told the network.
They will also make note of who athletes speak to and report any suspicious activity back to Pyongchang.
Han Seo-hee, an ex-cheerleader who defected from the North in 2006, said any North Korean group sent abroad is divided into three groups – athletes, administrative officials and security members.
But although North Korean athletes have defected during competitions before, she says it is unlikely any will do so during such a high-profile event.
‘I wouldn’t have even considered it,’ Seo-hee told CNN.
She was picked to be part of a North Korean cheerleading troupe after she performed for the country’s late leader, Kim Jong-il.
‘It will be the same for the cheerleading squad this time. They have family back home, they know if they defect, their family will be terrified and punished.’