Choi Seong Ryong, the head of www.comebackhome.co.kr, a support group for families of persons abducted by North Korea, has obtained documents that appear to confirm the deaths of a total of seven abductees including Shin Suk Ja.
Choi told Daily NK by phone this morning, “I’ve obtained manuscripts confirming the deaths of a total of seven people from an inside North Korean source. The manuscripts, transcriptions of those kept by an agency under Pyongyang’s Ministry of Health, say that Shin Suk Ja died on November 23rd, 2008, and that the cause of death was cirrhosis of the liver.”
“The documents were issued by No. 695 Hospital, which is under Kim Jong Il Political and Military University,” he added.
According to the documents, Shin was living in the Daesong area of Pyongyang at the time of her death, leading to the presumption that she was ultimately freed from the prison camp to which she was sent with her two children upon the re-defection of her husband, Dr. Oh Kil Nam, in the mid-80s.
“Her address at the time of death contained the expression ‘yong 98’, which will mean that Shin came out of Yodok in 1998,” Choi claimed.
On the news, Dr. Oh later commented, “Choi suggested that since my wife’s death date, the organ which issued the certificate and the circumstantial evidence is relatively specific, the data is quite likely to be genuine. My wife’s last known residence was close to Defense Security Command HQ, so she spent the rest of her days under surveillance.”
The documents also appear to verify the deaths of a POW, Han Man Taek, abducted fishermen Kang Yeong Jin, Lee Gi Ha, Yoon Sam Mun and Park Sang Won, and a Japanese abductee, Yokota Mekumi.
However, the Ministry of Unification has also cautioned that since the documents Choi obtained are not original copies, their authenticity cannot be confirmed.