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MasterChef fame for North Korean defector

Saturday, July 27, 2013 - 01:49

July 27 - A former North Korean child beggar gains television fame with a run in the cooking competition show ''MasterChef Korea''. Sarah Charlton reports.

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A North Korean defector has found TV fame by using her culinary skills to cook up a storm. Kim Ha-na has been competing in the South's MasterChef Korea. Growing up in the North, she was forced to live on the streets and beg after her parents escaped across the border leaving her behind. They later sneaked back and tried to rescue her. SOUNDBITE: (Korean) 25-YEAR-OLD NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR AND MASTERCHEF KOREA PARTICIPANT, KIM HA-NA SAYING: "One time, I didn't eat for five days in a row, and ran into my dad by chance. It was New Year's Day and there was a lot of food to eat. I literally gobbled it down. We had to run the next day as fast as we could to flee across the border but I just couldn't because I had too much food the night before." Kim was caught by guards and dragged back to North Korea on her own. She's not seen her father since and has no idea if he's alive. More than 10 years after she finally defected to the South, Kim entered MasterChef Korea in the hope that the publicity might lead to her father. But she didn't want any special treatment. SOUNDBITE: (Korean) 25-YEAR-OLD NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR AND MASTERCHEF KOREA PARTICIPANT, KIM HA-NA SAYING: "All applicants are treated equally for completing each mission at MasterChef Korea. But in most of other cases, South Koreans give defectors advantages. To me, that's unwelcome. I want to compete equally and break the bias. That's one of the reasons I participated in the competition." Kim made it to the final six contestants, but was knocked out just before the semi-finals. Her culinary career, however, could be far from over. She's currently studying cooking and says one day she'd like to help those in need in the North.

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MasterChef fame for North Korean defector

Saturday, July 27, 2013 - 01:49