A Child Brutally Beaten for a Minor Offense

Kang Chul Hwan, Child Prisoner of the North Korea Gulag  |  2005-11-02 15:31

Kang Chul Hwan
Mr. Kang Chul Hwan, a former child prisoner in a North Korean primary detention settlement, was born in 1968 in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea. He was only nine years old when his grandfather disappeared one day and he was arrested and detained in the Yodok primary detention settlement together with his grandmother, father, uncle and a sister in 1977. They were released after ten years in 1987. In 1992 he and Mr. Ahn Hyok, also a former prisoner in the same settlement, defected to South Korea. He studied business administration at Hanyang University, Seoul, and he is a journalist of the Chosun Daily.
He is co-founder of Democracy Network against North Korea Gulag, an NGO organized by North Korean defectors.

One summer, we were assigned to work in a large vegetable field. We spent more time in the field, planting and transplanting vegetables and removing weeds, than in the classroom. We worked all day long in the scorching heat. It was so stressful that the children often complained about the hard work. One day. A child muttered. I wish flood would wash away all the vegetables here some day. A security officer heard this and asked us. Who said that? Come forward!

Nobody came forward and all the children continued pulling weeds. In fact, everybody felt the same way at that time.

All of you come here. I will punish you collectively until the criminal comes forward. No one came forward.

I will show you a lesson, he said as he started beat us with hid stick one by one.

Still nobody came forward. He continued to kick, punch and beat us violently. Finally, one child pointed to another child and said.

Sir! Thats him!

The teacher was pleased.

You should have told me earlier.

He dragged the child away. The child was never seen again. Later, we were told that the child was so severely beaten with such heavy blows to his head that he became permanently crippled and insane.
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