Victims of Abduction, Jin Kyung Sook’s Family Petition to the President

[imText1]In August 2004, a South Korean and defector Jin Kyung Sook was abducted in the regions of Jilian, China and the North Korean border. Also in January 2005, allegations were made into the possibility of her death. In response, Jin’s family submitted a written petition directly to President Roh Moo Hyun asking for confirmation of Jin’s life or death and urged for her repatriation back to South Korea.

At the time, Jin was on her honeymoon in China with husband Mun Jeong Hun and was known to be kidnapped by a construction group, while attempting to pass on gifts to relatives in North Korea.

As soon as the kidnap was known, organizations associated with abductions began movements to confirm the life or death and repatriation of Jin receiving much attention from the press. However, in September of 2004, the National Intelligence Agency contested Jin’s family and the truth, revealing to the government that Jin was kidnapped while trying to acquire a video footage about North Korean opium cultivation.

In a phone conversation with The Daily NK on the 7th, Jin’s mother Park Shin Ae said “I am aware that my daughter died in January 2005. At the time, an acquaintance informed me ‘Your daughter is no longer in this world so do not send any more money.’”

Park angrily disputes “I waited with a glimmer of hope anticipating that the government would take action, but the government has not even made a single comment about my daughter, thus I submitted a written petition to President Roh Moo Hyun. Whether or not my daughter is alive, I cannot remain still and watch a government care so little for the citizen’s protection.”

Representative Doo Hee Yun of the Citizen’s Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees said “In January and May of 2005, a source from the North Korean Safety Agency heard news that Jin’s case was ‘unfortunate’” and revealed “This means that either Jin is dead or indicates the possibility of Jin being imprisoned in a gulag and unable to return.”

Representative Do argued “Jin’s death is wholly the responsibility of the government taking no action into confirming life or death and Jin’s repatriation. The government is not putting Jin on the list of abductees and not even commenting on whether this abduction case is true or false.”

Furthermore Representative Do raised criticism “By unveiling that Jin was trying to acquire a video footage about opium cultivation in which the North Korean system detests, the National Intelligence Agency is as good as putting Jin to death. Jin is already in a life or death situation because of torture in North Korea and by revealing this suspicion it seems ‘they are saying die.’”

Mun Jeong Hun said “I tried in every way to save my wife, only to hear news of her death. Although I used all measures to persuade the government to confirm the death, the government has shown no action.”

Last August 31st, the family submitted a final petition pleading to President Roh, but has yet to hear any response from the government.

A source from the Department of Unification working on Jin’s issue revealed “In addition to Jin’s case, there are piles of issues that need to be negotiated with North Korea in regards to the life or death of abductees. In Jin’s case, as the National Intelligence Agency is not revealing any results of the investigation it is difficult to acknowledge Jin as having been abducted.”

The source added “As a defector, abducted back into North Korea, Jin’s case is particularly special and thus talks with North Korea are all the more difficult.”