North Korea has ordered its border guards to open fire on anyone who crosses its border without permission, in what could be an attempt to thwart defections by people disgruntled over its recent currency reform, a news report said Saturday.
The National Defense Commission - the top government body headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il - recently instructed soldiers to kill unauthorized border crossers on the spot, South Korea's mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper said, citing unidentified sources inside the North.
It said the order could be an attempt by the communist government to stop members of North Korea's middle class who are angry over suddenly being deprived of their money from leaving the country.
Officials at South Korea's spy agency were not immediately available for comment Saturday.
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