Twenty-one North Korean cheerleaders who traveled to South Korea for international sports events are being held in a prison camp for talking about what they saw in the South.

Citing a North Korean man who recently fled to China, South Koreas Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the 21 young women had been detained about last November in the same prison camp where the man had been held.

South Koreas National Intelligence Service didnt immediately confirm or deny the report.

In 2002, communist North Korea sent hundreds of female cheerleaders to the Asian Games in South Koreas Busan, where their tightly synchronized routines drew worldwide attention. The North sent similar cheering squads to South Korea in 2003 and 2005.

According to the escapee, the cheerleaders had been accused of violating a pledge treat South Korea as enemy territory and never speak about what they saw there.