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North Korean Defector Given Free Lifetime Supply of Choco Pies

South Korean confectionery giant Orion has announced that it will bestow a lifetime supply of Choco Pies to a North Korean soldier who recently defected.

On November 13, a North Korean soldier made headlines worldwide thanks to his successful escape to South Korea. The Guardian reports that 24-year-old Oh Chung-sung was shot numerous times by his countrymen as he dashed across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in between North and South Korea.

Chung-sung was saved by South Korean surgeons and has been recovering in the Ajou University Hospital. Local news outlets reported that after waking up from unconsciousness, he shared with the medical team that he wanted to have some Choco Pies.

Upon hearing the news, Orion, the chocolate snack’s manufacturer, decided to send 100 boxes of Choco Pies to the hospital. The Korea Herald reports that for as long as Chung-sung stays in South Korea, he will enjoy a free lifetime supply of Choco Pies.

However, as he has yet to fully recover from his wounds, Chung-sung’s doctors aren't allowing him to munch on Choco Pies yet. For their part, Orion has denied that the kind act was part of a publicity stunt. “We sent the choco pies as a welcoming present to Oh, who came to Korea after going through hardship. It was not an act for publicity,” an official from the company told the news source.

A Choco Pie is a chocolate-covered pastry with a soft marshmallow filling. It’s perhaps Orion’s most famous product both domestically and regionally. They even became so popular in North Korea that the ruling regime banned the sweet for being “a symbol of capitalism”.

The snack is also a favorite confection of Vietnamese grandmas, and can be seen as the emblematic treat for familial visits. Orion established its official presence in Vietnam in 2005 and started producing Choco Pies locally in 2006 at the My Phuoc Factory in Saigon. Today, Vietnam is one of Orion’s four key markets, apart from South Korea, China and Russia. As of June 2014, Orion had sold two billion Choco Pies in the Southeast Asian country.

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