|The DPRK has kidnapped and/or imprisoned large numbers of South Korean citizens from the beginning of the Korean War until today — by some estimates 100,000 or more people. The DPRK denies it has abducted anyone or kept South Korean POWs after the end of the war. It is , however, now willing to discuss “missing persons during the war time.” South Koreans kidnapped after the war, if still under North Korean control, state they defected or were “rescued” by the DPRK. North Korea also captured citizens from other countries; they have mostly been Japanese, but hapless victims were obtained from as far away as Lebanon. They have been used for purposes such as espionage and language training. It has also been suggested the DPRK, which coupled foreign captives and defectors of various backgrounds, has planned to breed non-Asian spies. For more information on Koreans abucted during the war, visit the Korean War Abductees Family Union (KWAFU): (Their Washington, DC rep, “June,” is first rate if you need help). See a 2006 U.S. State Department cable on the subject, revealed by WikiLeaks, below. Abducted South Koreans in North Korea (from Association of Families/KINU)http://web.archive.org/web/20140702140838if_/http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=homelandsec02-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B00E5SR1KU[Unlike the US government, which in essence has focused only on the remains of prisoners known to have died on North Korean territory during the war, South Korea has made a concerted effort to negotiate for its live POWs held in North Korea, even while the DPRK efused to admit they existed. Over time, their existence has been proven and scores have escaped back to South Korea. As discussed at our sister site, www.kpows.com, North Korean officials have hinted U.S. POWs remained after the war, calling them “survivors” or other euphemisms. Defectors from the North have reported seeing U.S. prisoners alive into the 1990s. The Army intelligence report below discusses a 4-man ROK team apparently kidnapped in 1962. The survivor of a captured North Korean infilitration team said one of its missions was to kidnap American servicemen and take them North. Click here to learn about the mysterious case of PFC Roy Chung, a Korean serving in the U.S. Army who either defected or was kidnapped in 1979.]Korean Civilians Abducted During the Korean War: 96,013 men, women and children [2012 statistics from KINU, the (South) Korea Institute for National Unification. KorCon has verified the general numbers via U.S. and other sources.] North Koreans took them for their value as skilled labor, hostages and for political and other reasons. While DPRK forces occupied Seoul, squads of soldiers would appear at homes with lists of victims to take.Koreans Abducted After the War: Almost 4,000 — most were returned, 517 are still missing. They range from fishermen to a flight attendant on a hijacked plane. North Korea has used them for intelligence and propaganda purposes. Korean POWs from the Korean War: More than 70,000 South Korean troops (America’s allies) were MIA. Later evidence showed many — called “puppet soldiers” by North Koreans — had been captured as of 1953 and held back for hard labor. 500 were believed alive as of the end of 2011. More than 80 have escaped home to South Korea. Korean POWs from the Vietnam War: South Korean forces fought alongside the U.S. in Vietnam. North Korean pilots and advisors were on the other side. At least two South Korean soldiers captured by the communists in Vietnam ended up in North Korea. There is an unconfirmed report American POWs from Vietnam were also sent to North Korea. Click here for the page with that report on our sister site KPOWS.
|SpiesStill from DPRK Propaganda FilmMany South Korean intelligence agents dispatched to North Korea — during and after the war — never returned. In addition, anyone falling into the hands of the DPRK is subject to being accused of spying. The purported U.S. spy to the left is pictured in a North Korean propaganda film from the war. Many of these intelligence operatives and their families, both from South Korean and U.S. organizations, have faced problems receiving compensation after injury, capture or death.Army Intelligence Report:North Korean Commando Team With 1962 Mission to Kidnap U.S. GIsNotes Abduction of 4-man ROK Team in July ’62North Korea Kidnapping Cases: U.S. State Department( 7/7/06 cable from WikiLeaks)
¶3. (U) Kim Young-nam’s abduction case has brought renewedattention to North Korea’s past kidnappings of South Koreancitizens after the Korean War. According to officialstatistics, a total of 3,790 people have been abducted by theNorth subsequent to the Korean War. Of these, 3,298 (87percent) have safely returned to the ROK as a result ofnegotiations facilitated by the Korean National Red Cross.An additional seven have escaped the North, six of whom arecurrently living in the South. At present, the ROKgovernment believes 485 post-war abductees remain detained inthe DPRK. (NOTE: There is also a significant number ofKorean War abductees who were forcibly taken to the Northduring the Korean War. Estimates range as high as 84,532,though a total of 7,034 people are registered as missing inthe 1956 list compiled by the Korean National Red Cross. ENDNOTE.). ¶4. (U) Post-war abductee cases generally fall into threecategories. Approximately 90 percent of abductees areidentified as ROK fishermen. Beginning with the firstkidnapping incident in 1955, North Korea has abducted a totalof 3,692 fishermen, 434 of whom currently remain detained inthe North. The last fishing boat abduction incident was inMay 1995, when North Korean Coast Guards seized eightfishermen aboard the “No. 86 Woosung-ho.” Three of theWoosung-ho crewmen were killed during a violent struggle withtheir abductors. The rest of the crew was released throughPanmunjeom in December 1995. ¶5. (U) A majority of abduction incidents occurred whilefishermen were in or near North Korean territorial waters inthe West and East Seas. According to the testimony of LeeJae-geun, an abducted fisherman who escaped to the South in2000, DPRK officials interrogated the crewmen of abductedfishing boats in sessions that could last up to severalmonths. While screening out possible spies, the NorthKoreans would pick those who were either physically fit orhad a high level of education for “special training”; theseindividuals would not be released with the rest of the crewat the conclusion of the interrogation process. ¶6. (U) There have also been “special case” abductionsinvolving a Korean Airline plane hijacking incident in 1969,a Navy I-2 boat abduction incident in 1970, and the abductionof two South Korean Coast Guards in 1974. Of the 51 peopleaboard the Korean Airline flight, 12 people (four crewmembers, eight passengers) were prevented from returning backto the South. The DPRK has refused to release any of thecrewmen on the Navy I-2 boat, as well as the two Coast Guardscaptured in 1974. ¶7. (U) Finally, there are snatching incidents, such as thecase of Kim Young-nam, in which ROK nationals have beengrabbed from either ROK territory or abroad and taken to theDPRK. There have been five known cases of ROK nationalsbeing abducted by North Korean secret agents from withinSouth Korea. All of the five victims were high schoolstudents kidnapped between the years of 1977 and 1978 by DPRKagents, and all were kidnapped from the beach; none have beenrepatriated. ¶8. (U) A total of 20 ROK nationals have been abducted inthird countries by North Korean agents. Before thenormalization of ROK-PRC diplomatic relations in 1992, mostof the abductions were carried out in Europe, where NorthKorean agents had relatively easy access to South Koreancitizens studying, working, or traveling in Europe. The mostrecent cases have all taken place in China, however, as thenumber of South Koreans traveling to China increased afterthe normalization of ROK-PRC relations. ¶9. (U) Twelve of the 20 overseas abduction victims currentlyremain detained in North Korea. The list of detaineesinclude: a former Labor Attach at the ROK Embassy in WestGermany (and his family), Lee Jae-hwan (son of formerpolitician Lee Young-wook), and the well-known (and the lastreported DPRK overseas abduction) case of Rev. Kim Dong-shik. Three of the overseas snatching victims have managed toescape.