A Prisoner Killed for Trying to Save the Lives of Other Prisoners

[imText1]In May 1993, I went to Gallery No.1 of the mine sector to get the coal supply for my guard unit. When I was reversing my truck to load coal, the clerk ran to me and said, “Sir, there is a fire at Gallery No.1 today and so I’m afraid you have to wait.” I left my truck and walked toward gallery No.1. I heard two explosions on the way and saw the gallery entrance blocked by explosion. Two security officers, Major Song-il Kim and Colonel Su-chol Lee, were there. Some fifty prisoners, who narrowly escaped the gallery fire, were out there trembling.

One of the prisoners in his thirties approached the security officers and said, “Sir, there is a good number of people inside. Please save their lives.”

The security officer was very angry and shouted at him, “Shut up, you big mouth!” The prisoner did not stop pleading and the other prisoners also joined him.

“Hey, you! Are you protesting?” The security officer produced a pistol and shot at the man’s head. He dropped dead instantly, bleeding from his head. The security officer said, “Who’s next? Who is going to resist? Come forward!” He shot three more bullets in the air. The prisoners were all frightened and said nothing. Then, the officers shouted at them, “Back to work!”

I was so frightened at the sight that I felt my feet trembling and came back to my post without coal that day. When I went back there for coal the next day, I was told that some fifty prisoners died inside the gallery the previous day. They buried them in a big hole. No mourning, no funeral and no identification! Soon, grass will grow on the burial site and there will be no sign of the massacred prisoners.

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