A pastor who helped North Korean refugees escape their homeland has been found dead near the border with China. Rights activists suspect North Korea may be responsible for his death, says The Telegraph, quoting Yonhap, the official Korean news agency.

Korean-Chinese pastor Han Choong Yeol, 49, well-known for helping North Korean defectors, left his home in Chiangbai, a Chinese town on its border with N. Korea, on 30 April and was found dead later that day. His body showed evidence of stabbing and axe wounds.

Han considered himself to be a target after a deacon in his 600-strong ‘Three Self’ (Chinese-government approved) Church disappeared, after being kidnapped in 2014.

Sources told The Telegraph that Han’s mobile phone is missing, which may place defectors and all those involved in aiding them in danger.

“We have had reports of this sort of thing happening before and we have seen a sharp increase in the security on the border with China since Kim Jong-un came to power,” said Robert Park, a founding member of the Worldwide Coalition to Stop Genocide in North Korea and a former prisoner of North Korea.