Abducted South Korean Dies in a North Korean Political Prison Camp

 |  2008-10-14 16:22
▲ Lim Kook Jae, a crew member of the Dong Jin 27, who passed away in a political prison camp
Choi Sung Ryong, a representative of the “Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea” reported on the 13th that Lim Kook Jae, a crew member of the Dong Jin 27 that was abducted by a North Korean patrol boat near Baek Ryung Island of the Yellow Sea in January 1987, died in a North Korean political prison camp.

Lim, who is from Andong of North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea, was the youngest of the abducted crew members and was confined in a political prison camp located in Chongjin of North Hamgyung Province after attempting to escape three separate times into China; September 2003, April 2004, and the beginning of 2005.
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Choi told the Daily NK in a phone interview that he has received “inside information from a North Korea source that Lim has passed away in political prison camp #25 and shared the information with his family in South Korea”.

Choi also told the Daily NK that it has been confirmed that among nine family members of the POWs that were forcefully repatriated to North Korea after being protected by the South Korean Consulate General in Shenyang, China in October 2006, three family members of Lee Gang San, a POW, were imprisoned in political prison camps.

“Among these three, the daughter-in-law Kim Young Hwa and the granddaughter Lee Jung Hwa are now confined in the Soosung political prison camp in Chongjin but the grandson Lee Jung Hoon’s political camp location was not confirmed. We are revealing their pictures publicly under the consent of family members in the South” he added.

Choi, however, also said it is pity that “our government has welcomed the U.S.’ decision to remove North Korea from the terrorism list when victims of North Korean abduction and their families continue to struggle”.

On the other hand, Choi attended an inspection of the Ministry of Unification by the National Assembly’s Unification, Foreign Affairs, and Trade Committee on the 6th as a reference and revealed that a total of three POWs and abductees have been staying at the Consulate in China since last March.

▲ Family members of a POW, Lee Gang San, granddaughter Lee Jung Hwa (L), grandson Lee Jung Hoon and daughter-in-law Kim Young Hwa (R)

A POW's grandson Lee Jung Hoon's letter to the South Korean Consulate General in 2006

Lee Jung Hoon's Letter

Honorable South Korean General Consul,

My name is Lee Jung Hoon and I am a defector from North Korea… I am a grandson of a POW, Lee Gang San who was born in South Jeolla province. He passed away in August 1996 due to his illness… As a prisoner of war, my grandfather worked at the Sechun mine and so did my father… I have crossed the border 7 times since I was 14 years old to beg for rice and food. The 8th time, I fell into the hands of Chinese dealers and was sold to a cripple… I escaped when I was 15 years old… I was arrested and sent back to North Korea… I was beaten during many times during the year I lived in prison. I escaped and defected again. I worked at a bathhouse cleaning and even exercised at a local gym… I made money and even sent some to my parents… I even told my mother that I would bring a bride home so I dated a girl but we broke up due to my status. I cried a lot but my misery did not end there. The bathhouse I worked at closed down… I was introduced to work at a restaurant but had to run away when police officers or inspection officers showed up… I cannot go back to North Korea (if I do, I will be imprisoned for 7-15 years) but I cannot live in China either… I have nightmares every night. The only way for me to live is to go to South Korea where my grandfather was born. I want to make my grandfather’s wish come true and live a fulfilling life. Please accept my request.

From defector Lee Jung Hoon
July 18th, 2006
From Chonjin, China

 
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