South Korea has quadrupled its reward for North Korean defectors who have secret information about their reclusive home country.
Seoul used to pay informants from the North $217,000, but according to the Yonhap news agency on Sunday, it has increased the amount to up to $860,000.
The amount will be given to “people who provide intelligence and knowledge that can enhance South Korea’s security” said the report.
It added that the actual sum paid will be determined based on the importance of the intelligence. It noted that a different amount will be given to soldiers from the North who defect with their weapons.
The report said the increased cash amount is aimed at encouraging members of Pyongyang’s elite to defect.
“One of the biggest reasons why North Koreans are hesitant about defecting is because they are fearful of [how they would make a living] after they come to South Korea,” the report cited a South Korean official as saying.
Over the years, high-profile defectors have been a valuable source of information about the government in Pyongyang.
Last Year, North Korea’s former deputy ambassador to the UK, Thae Yong-ho, defected with the vow to increase awareness about the “gruesome realities” of his former nation.