Belated reports have come out that a discharged soldier from Unit 974 sexually assaulted and killed a female student in Myongchon County, North Hamgyong Province in late March. The soldier was a retired member of Unit 974, the unit in charge of serving as bodyguards for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“A man in his twenties surnamed Lee from Unit 974 killed a female student on March 28 in Myongchon County,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on May 4. “Before [he killed the student], he also sexually assaulted her. Locals were appalled when they learned that this criminal had been in Unit 974.”
According to the source, Lee was discharged from the military and returned to his hometown of Myongchon County in mid-May of 2015. Although he received a dishonorable discharge, the county party committee still gave him special attention because he had closely guarded Kim Jong Un. He received special treatment that others would not get, such as an assignment to a relatively good job.
However, Lee quickly became known as a troublemaker within the area. Before the end of 2015, the year he returned to his hometown, he received a sentence of six months of labor for sexually assaulting a coworker. In 2017, he received a sentence of seventeen months in prison for similar charges.
Then, at 8 PM on Mar. 28, Lee ambushed a seventeen-year-old student surnamed Yang on her way home after hiding in the vicinity of an apartment building located near a Myongchon County police station.
The source reported that because the student screamed “Help!” when she was suddenly sexually assaulted she was also physically assaulted. The authorities later arrested Lee, but the student still ultimately lost her life due to “excessive blood loss.”
“There is this idea [in North Korea] that soldiers in Unit 974 are ‘warriors armed with ideology,’” the source said. “People are particularly shocked that a person with a history of serving in such places committed murder and sexual assault.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il took special care of Unit 974 members, referring to them as his “children.” Unit 974 troops also guarded Kim Jong Un’s vehicle during the April 2018 inter-Korean summit.
*Translated by S & J