Authorities in Burma say they have arrested 19 North Korean defectors and will try them on charges of illegally entering the country.

The defectors were trying to make their way to South Korea via China and Southeast Asia when they were captured after entering Burmese territory early this month.  There is no information on how long they had been in China.

Burmese immigration authorities have moved the group from a detention center to a prison, where they await a trial expected to open next week.

North Koreans fleeing the impoverished and repressive Stalinist state are increasingly choosing Southeast Asia as a destination after passing through China, in hopes they can eventually resettle in South Korea.

China repatriates North Korean defectors it captures as economic migrants.  

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.