A North Korean defector asked to listen to K-pop when he learned he was in South Korea, according to newspaper Dong-a Ilbo.
The soldier received six gunshot wounds as he drove a Jeep to escape from his position in North Korean territory. The critically injured soldier then crawled until he reached the end the demilitarised zone under a hail of bullets from his comrades. He was the discovered under a pile of leaves by patrolling South Korean soldiers.
The man successfully underwent two surgeries at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province to treat his injuries. He asked doctors "Am I in South Korea?" as soon as he regained consciousness. Upon confirmation he then asked to listen to K-pop.
A government spokesperson says they are investigating if the young soldier was convinced to defect thanks to a propaganda operation that broadcasts popular music, including K-pop, across the border via loudspeaker to People's Army conscripts.
The soldier's name and rank have not yet been released due to security concerns, and many details are still shrouded in mystery. Doctors said the man was suffering from 10-inch parasites, which one surgeon said: "In my over 20 year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook."
K-pop music is a massively popular form of pop music that originates from South Korea. The subculture, which relies heavily on visuals and its unique fashion style, has amassed millions of fans around the world, including in Europe and North America.