New Malden’s South Koreans are now being joined by increasing numbers from the north, but a shared language is no guarantee of harmony

In New Malden, the Surrey high street that stretches out from the railway station taking commuters to London Waterloo is filled with signs from another land. There are Korean restaurants and supermarkets, a Korean bakery and a Korean estate agent – even a Korean acupuncture centre. When Samsung established its first European HQ, this was where it set up. The population of this quiet suburb of south-west London, estimated at about 10,000, is almost one-third South Korean.

Recently, however, New Malden has emerged as the adopted home of another wave of immigrants from the Korean peninsula – those from north of the demilitarised zone. Enticed by job opportunities made easier by a shared language, the number of North Koreans living here has risen from only 20 in 2007 to…

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