[imText1]It has been revealed that the North Korean defector who made the video containing scenes of inside the Yoduk political labor/detention camp (gulag) public, Kang Gun (aged 36), was arrested by the North Korean special operation in Longjing city of Jilin, China and is now imprisoned in the prison of the National Security Agency located in Pyongyang.
Kang had been a businessman making trade business between China and North Korea since 2000, when he defected to South Korea. With the help of cooperators in North Korea, Kang was able to record a video on Yoduk political detention camp, which was revealed to the public for the first time. He had also been involved in the return of Jun Yong Il, a POW from the Korean War, to South Korea.
In the interview on Aug 23, Kang’s wife said, “Late March when my husband’s whereabouts could not be found, I visited China many times in person to ask around for him, and concluded that he got abducted by the North Korean operation team.” She said at first she believed Kang was arrested by the Chinese police or by the Chinese Safety Department, but has recently verified that Kang is not in any of the prisons in China.
Mrs. Kang added, “I heard it from the person who seems to know much about his whereabouts, that he was transferred to Pyongyang around May. Although the government of South Korea is keeping silence, it seems as though it has verified information on abduction of my husband.”
About this remark, the South Korean National Intelligence Service gave a short comment, “It was known to us that there was a change in Mr. Kang’s change of status (change of location). We are in the process of tracing him.”
“Induced and Kidnapped by the National Security Agency”
According to a North Korean defectors’ organization, “From what had been known, Mr. Kang had been in China but not in Dongbei, especially in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture where kidnappings by the North Korean government special operation team occur frequently. It seems as though the person who had been giving inside information to Kang from North Korea seems to have contacted Kang and induced him by telling him there is a “big catch.” Hearing this, Kang went to Longjing and was kidnapped by the special operation in the North Korean National Security Agency.”
Another source said, “most of the North Korean defectors holding South Korean citizenship are sent to the National Security Agency prison in Chongjin, and those who have committed serious crimes are sent to Pyongyang for further investigation. It is known that Kang is locked in the prison cell of the National Security Agency and Social Safety Agency in Pyongyang.”
He introduced the content of the conversation Kang had with his source and testified, “Kang’s case is taken as a national issue. Not only his families and relatives but all his affiliates were taken to the detention camp.”
After it was known that Kang was kidnapped to North Korea through some sources, it was verified that in total, six North Korean defectors with South Korean citizenship were kidnapped in China back to North Korea. In the discussion for the North Korea Human Rights Act past May, Do Hee Yoon, executive director of Citizen’s Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees argued, “There are five North Korean defectors with South Korean citizenship in the National Security Agency prison in Chongjin. The actual number of North Korean defectors kidnapped may reach up to tens.
However, the current situation is that there is no government effort for the further investigation or plea for their return. The government of South Korea argues that there is no much it can do diplomatically but to only rely on the investigation of the Chinese police and take actions according to their reports. The government of China officially does not recognize North Korean National Security Agency’s kidnappings of the North Korean defectors with South Korean citizenship.
Government Official Says, “We Cannot Respond Against the Chinese Investigation Results”
An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade testified, “In such cases as this, although the Chinese police conducts investigations, but in most cases, they report back, “there is no progress in investigation” or “cannot be investigated further.” When the Chinese government makes such a conclusion, there is not much we can do at the government level.”
Also, in many cases, they make conclusions favorable to North Korea. The Chinese government presents reports that say, “voluntary return” or “abduction on the North Korean territory.”
For the case of Jin Kyung Sook, who was abducted in Helong, Jilin August last year, Chinese report created much dispute. Unlike her husband, Moon Jung Hoon’s assertion of Jin’s abduction by two operation members of the North Korean National Security Agency, the Chinese police report to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “Ms. Jin and her husband Mr. Moon crossed over to North Korea to bring back Jin’s sister. There, Jin was arrested and Moon escaped to China.”
Jin’s mother who lives in South Korea testifies, “Recently there are many rumors regarding my daughter, but I cannot even dare to say what I heard. I know that it will be difficult and hard to survive there. I only hope with all my heart that she stays alive.”
Do Hee Yoon, executive director of Citizen’s Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees says, “The government of China did not like the North Korean special operation teams working on the Chinese territory, but with the recent video clips and increase of North Koreans and POWs defecting to China, it is told that the Chinese police and the North Korean National Security Agency and Social Safety Agency are conducting cooperative investigations.”
The Chinese Police, Silent about the Kidnappings by National Security Agency
According to Do Hee Yoon, the government of China is silencing about the kidnappings of the North Korean defectors with South Korean citizenship by the National Security Agency.
Lee Chun Gil, a former operation team member who had been active in China before he defected to South Korea, says, “the reality is that the Chinese police and Chinese national security department are silencing about the activities of the North Korean National Security Agency officers inside China, although they are well aware of the operation teams’ activities. When I was active in China, many times we accompanied the Chinese police.”
“Because there is Chosun-China agreement on informational cooperation regarding national security since long ago, thus from what I know, information exchange occurs frequently. There was a time I obtained information about abduction from the National Security Agency officer,” said Lee.
The conclusion is that it is difficult for the Chinese police to fairly investigate the cases of North Korean kidnappings. Lee says, “You easily know what it means when you see how well Ji Kwang Chul lives in China without any legal restrictions, who is a former officer of the Department of Prison of the People’s Army who helped kidnapping of Rev. Kim.”
On the other hand, Kang’s wife appealed, “If the government takes an affirmative action as the case of Yoo Tae Jun or if the human rights organizations plead for his rescue, the North Korean government will not mistreat (kill) him. If it is difficult for the government to take an action directly, I hope it takes other ways to at least verify whether he is alive and search for the ways to plead for his return.”