These young North Koreans, aged between 15 and 23, were dreaming of achieving ultimate freedom in South Korea.
Dressed in lime-green T-shirts and making victory signs with their hands, they were disguised to look like a group of students on a tour.
This video was shot shortly after the defectors crossed the border into Laos from China and just 30 minutes later, they were arrested.
They are now reportedly back in their country, likely awaiting life-long sentences in labor camps or potentially even the death penalty.
During a meeting with her key secretaries on Monday, President Park Geun-hye expressed her grief for the plight of the young North Korean defectors and said everyone should have a right to freedom.
President Park stressed that North Korea will face heavy criticism and responsibilities for violating human rights, if it fails to guarantee the safety of the group.
She asked the officials and related personnels from her administration to put all efforts into preventing similar incidents from happening again and securing important routes for North Korean defectors in countries like Laos.
Escapees from North Korea often cross into Laos, Vietnam or Mongolia from China before arriving in South Korea.
The recent deportation of the young defectors is also expected to be discussed during summit talks between Washington and Beijing scheduled for Friday in California.
Diplomatic sources say President Barack Obama will ask Chinese leader Xi Jinping to refrain from forcefully repatriating North Korean defectors in the future and ask that Beijing deals with them in a more humanitarian way.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.