Shin was born into Camp 14. He was punished for the political sins of his parents. His parents were forced into marriage inside the camp. By the time he was at the age of 13 the guards at the camp had him along with many more prisoners brainwashed. He realized that his mom and brother were planning to escape the camp. Shin didn't know any better and he turned them into the guards. He did this so he could finally be full, from the little amount of food they get. This crime resulted in death of his mom and brother. Shin was still beat and tortured for 4 days straight to see if the guards could get any more information out of him. Shin didn't even believe there was a outside world. He didn't believe there was anything outside the camp.
Shin became friends with a 40 year old political prisoner, Park. Park began to explain to Shin about the world outside of the camp that Shin didn't believe existed. On January 2, 2005 Shin and Park were assigned to work on top of a mountain range near the electric fence. As soon as the guards were out of sight they took their chances. Park was electrocuted and Shin then used Park's body as shield. This didn't block Shin completely, he still suffered terrible burns from where the wire touched his legs. He found a barn, and an old military uniform. He put the uniform on and he acted as a soldier while he made his way to the border with China. From there, he traveled to South Korea where he still lives today.