Defector to South Korea who became celeb resurfaces in the North, appears in tearful video

North Korean defector Im Ji Hyun, who became a celebrity refugee in Seoul, recently appeared on Pyongyang television and claimed to have returned home from the "hell" of the capitalist South.

Im, who arrived in Seoul in 2014, became a public figure who starred in several South Korean TV shows featuring escapees from the North and even had her own online fan club,

The 26-year-old was also among the relatively few North Korean defectors who had successfully adjusted to her new life.

However, she recently resurfaced in North Korea following a short disappearance, tearfully recalling a terrible life after her escape to the South.

According to AFP, she said in a videotaped interview uploaded on the North Korean government-run propaganda website Uriminzokkiri, "Every single day of my life in the South was a hell."

"I went to South Korea harbouring this fantasy that I would able to eat and live well there, but the South was not the place I imagined," she said, adding she wanted to become an actress in Seoul.

"When I was alone in a dark, cold room, I was heartbroken and I wept every day, missing my fatherland and my parents back home."

Im, who is known as Jeon Hye Sung, in the North, said she returned to "the bosom of the fatherland" last month and is now living with her parents in her hometown of Anju.

She also accused a South Korean TV station of pushing her to lie about her life in the North so that it would sound more miserable than it actually was.

"Everything I said on TV was scripted... to make North Koreans look barbaric, ignorant and stupid," she added, even describing herself as "human trash".

Authorities in Seoul said they are investigating the incident, though the city's spy agency declined to comment.

Im did not mention how she returned to North Korea or whether her actions were voluntary, but speculation is rife that she might have been kidnapped at the Chinese border while trying to reunite with her family members and help them flee.

According to Seoul police sources who probed Im’s home and financial accounts, there was little sign of her trying to wrap up her life in the country and move elsewhere.

Im lived in a small one-room studio in Seoul while pursuing her television career.

In her fan blog in March, she said she got busier because she just enrolled in a school, reported South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo.

In April, she thanked her fans for a birthday party, calling it "possibly the happiest birthday of my life".

She disappeared shortly afterwards.

Lee So Yool, another North Korean defector and TV celebrity in Seoul, however said Im would have been broadcast criticising the South regardless of whether she had returned to the North voluntarily or forcibly.

"She has to do it once she is back in the North. She has no choice in order to survive," Lee said during a live broadcast.