[imText1]Once I was asked by a senior security officer to transport 1 ton of corn, 500 kilograms of potatoes, and 40 kilograms of hot peppers to his house. He was stealing from the settlement for his personal gain. At night, another security officer and I transported them to his house. Then, we were invited inside for drinks and dinner. The senior security officer was in a very good mood because of his gain that night and began to talk proudly about the secret executions he had been carrying out.
He asked me, “Do you know what happens to their eyes when prisoners are buried alive? Their eyes shine blue like animals at night. When they are buried up to their neck, their eyes begin to shine with hatred.” The other security officer said, “They deserve it. Didn’t they betray the state? You should have pricked their eyes with needles.” But I wondered why they were buried alive, instead of just being killed.
“If you beat or kill them, you get their dirty blood on your clothes. You have to bury them anyway, right? Then, why not bury them alive so that you don’t get dirty blood on you,” said the senior security officers nonchalantly. The prisoners he buried alive were those who were accused of inadequate treatment of cattle.
In February 1990, I was asked by the Chief Guard to follow him to an administration warehouse at 05:30 in the morning. He ordered me to check out six bundles (five units in each bundle) of gas masks with rubber gowns, which looked like a sea diver’s kit. When I returned to my prison chamber, a total of 150 prisoners, several from each unit, were selected and separated from the other prisoners. The selected prisoners were mostly crippled and weak women who had less labor value.
I had to issue instructions for lunch with the same usual number for the male prisoners but 150 meals less for women. The prisoners started to exchange nervous looks with each other when the 150 prisoners did not return to work. An air of unusual tension and fear spread among the prisoners.
Normally, when a prisoner is sent to a punishing cell, an announcement is always made about why the prisoner is punished to warn others. But that night, so many prisoners were sent to punishment cells for whispering, looking around nervously and exchanging signs of tension without the usual announcement. That night, the punishment cells were all full with a long list of prisoners awaiting punishment. Obviously, the prison authorities attempted to cover up the killings.
Around October 1990, an engineer supervisor was sent here from the defense chemistry factory in Hamhung. He was responsible for an explosion in the factory there and was secretly executed at an underground cell in about a month. At that time, I was told to reduce the number of meals by one in the kitchen. Later, I was confidentially informed about the killing by a prisoner/nurse who was involved in getting rid of the corpse.
At that time, 500 female prisoners were sent from here to the Hwachon area for some kind of expansion work at a chemical factory. The prisoners returned in about a month’s time. One of the prisoners told me that there was a special chemical research institute in Hwachon.