On a frosty March night in 2013, Han said he walked across the frozen Tumen river. A car on the other side took him to a safe house where he and a small group of other refugees hid for a few days before the broker took Han and some others towards Russia.
"The broker was always with me because I didn't know how to go about any of this (on my own)," Han said. "They made a fake document for me, I don't know if it was a fake passport or not."
In the Russian Far East, Han said the broker took him and his fellow refugees to a train on the trans-Siberian route. In a week-long journey through Russia, Han said he lay low in the cabin, eating bread provided by the broker.
The group split up at the Russia-Finland border and Han said he was hidden in the back of a truck, in a space between large boxes, and driven to Sweden.
"I didn't even know where Sweden was. The broker helped me get here," he said. Three weeks after he first left the North Korean borderlands, Han turned himself in to the Red Cross in Stockholm and asked for refugee status.
Like many of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers in Sweden each year, Han underwent a series of interviews to ascertain his nationality.
The Swedish Migration Board said Sprakab, a company it uses to conduct language tests and other methods to vet asylum seekers, could not conclusively point to Han's background.
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Fredrik Beijer, director of legal affairs at the board, said Han has to prove he is from North Korea, and as he has not been able to, the working hypothesis is that he is from China.
Han has been asked to fill out applications seeking Chinese travel documents. If China does not confirm he is a Chinese citizen, and neither Han nor the Swedish authorities are able to prove his identity after a period of four years, he will probably be allowed to stay in Sweden on humanitarian grounds.
Han's supporters have started an online campaign to prevent his deportation, and have raised over 14,000 signatures on the petition.
Han's lawyer said the South Korean embassy in Stockholm did not find Han's fingerprints on file, indicating Han was not likely to be a 'double-defector' - a North Korean refugee in South Korea who has fled to a third country.
Citizen's Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR), a Seoul-based NGO, has also taken up Han's case and said the Swedish government "should err on the side of ensuring the boy's safety and refrain from deporting him to China".
"If Sweden refuses to protect him, NKHR urges the South Korean government to seek the boy's deportation to South Korea," it said.