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작성자 편집국 작성일17-12-12 10:24 댓글0건


Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years(7)


VAnalysis of Verified Cases(3) 





Analysis of Verified Case(3)




The Sancheong Massacres - Verified on November 20, 2007

One hundred thirty-two petitioners appealed for truth verification for 129 civilians massacred by the South Korean army in Sanchong County, Gyeongsangnam Province. The petitioners claimed that the massacres took place between July 1949 and January 1950. The Commission verified that 129 civilians were massacred. The Commission recommended that the government offer an apology, conduct memorial services, restore the victims' honor, revise the related laws, amend the relevant records, and promote human rights education.




The Jeju Seottal Oreum Massacre Case - Verified on November 13, 2007

Two hundred seventeen petitioners appealed for truth verification for 218 civilians massacred by the South Korean Army at Seottal Oreum on Jeju Island on August 20, 1950. Almost a month before the massacre, on July 16, 1950, the civilians were arrested and detained by the South Korean police without a specific charge. They were later formally accused of being communist sympathizers.

The Commission verified that no evidence existed to support such a charge. The Commission recommended to the government to restore the victims’ honor, offer an official apology, establish memorials for the victims, and revise historical and public records to reflect the new findings. It is also recommended that the government promote peace and human rights education programs and amend any relevant laws.


The Hampyeong Massacre - Verified on July 3, 2007

Eighty-four petitioners appealed for truth verification for 249 civilians massacred in Hampyeong County (now Gwangju City) by the South Korean army from November 20, 1950 to January 14, 1951. The Commission found that during the process of subduing red guerrillas, the South Korean army massacred the civilians without given them a trial. The Commission verified that the military killed 249 civilians and wounded nine others. It recommended that the government offer an apology, conduct memorial services, and revise the relevant records and documents.


The Naju Massacre - Verified on June 12, 2007

Twenty petitioners appealed for truth verification for over 74 civilians massacred in Naju, Jeollanam Province by the South Korean Army on January 20, 1951. The Commission verified that the army, acting on suspicions that the civilians may be North Korean Army collaborators, killed the people without following proper judicial trial. While the death toll was estimated to be approximately 74 to 140 civilians, the commission could only identify 31 victims. The Commission recommended that the government offer an apology, restore the victims’ honor, and establish measures to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring in the future.


The Mass Murder of Accused Leftists in Naju - Verified on April 17,  2007 Twenty seven petitioners filed for truth verification for a mass murder that occurred in Naju on February 26, 1951. According to the petitioners, a total of twenty-eight villagers were summarily executed without a trial at Cheolcheon-ri, Bonghwang—myeon in Naju City after they were accused of collaborating with communist guerrillas. The Commission found that the Naju Police Special Forces were responsible for the atrocity and recommended that the government officially apologize to

the victims, restoring honor to the dead, and implement preventive measures.



  1. Human Rights Abuses



  1. Outline

The cases reviewed by the Committee on Human Rights Abuses are classified into two categories: Cases that received irrevocable court judgments and all others. The cases which received irrevocable court judgments can be further divided and classified into two sub-categories: Cases regarding the violation of the National Security Law and cases pertaining to all other laws. Cases regarding the violation of the National Security Law include cases where the victims were defectors from North Korea, relatives of defectors to North Korea, fishermen abducted by North Korea, Korean-Japanese, and domestic political prisoners. The other category includes cases where victims suffered torture and abuse during criminal investigations without a final court ruling.



  1. Major issues and related cases


  1. Illegal or clearly unfair execution of public power: The Commission judged the following acts to be illegal exercises of public power: the death of a college student by heat stroke during military training not being clearly attributed, an unlawful government order being used in a secret operation to obstruct the repatriation of a Korean-Japanese to the North which accompanied a serious infringement of the freedom of decision, and equal opportunity seriously being limited by an unlawful government order in the 23rd and 24th bar exam interviews. This is an expansion of the role of the Commission which emphasizes that public power must be exercised according to the constitution and the law. It also clarifies the necessity of forensic investigation in seeking the truth in historically important events.


  1. Serious infringement of human rights: The basic law states infringement of human rights as death, serious injury, or disappearance. The Commission included illegal detention and abuse of victims in all irrevocably judged court cases.

Some examples are the case of torture and abuse of Kim Ik-Hwan and his family and the 1980 Sabuk case. There were some uncertainties in the cases involving violations of other constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, property rights and labor rights. In line with general principles of international law and related declarations, property rights and labor rights were included in the category of human rights, but if judged under these violations alone, it was difficult to see them as serious infringements of human rights. If combined with the torture and abuse the victims suffered however, the cases were all judged to be serious infringements of human rights.

In cases such as the suspected torture of Wi Cheong-Ryong, the former chief prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice, the forced relinquishment of the Buil Scholarship Foundation assets, the case of the 23rd and 24th bar exam interview disqualifications, the unlawful government order in a secret operation to obstruct the repatriation of a Korean-Japanese to the North, and the case of forced labor on construction sites, these were not seen as cases of serious infringement of human rights.


  1. Reasons for reexamination: For the irrevocably judged cases, basic law allows the



initiation of an investigation if there is reason for reexamination under the Civil Suit Procedure Law and Criminal Suit Procedure Law.

① There was a question as to whether a reason for reexamination should be established before the initiation of an investigation or if the investigation should be initiated with a high probability of having a reason for reexamination. The Commission concluded that the clarification of any issues regarding the granting of a retrial should be the subject of truth finding. Thus, any case with a high probability of having a reason for reexamination was investigated, and on completion of the truth verification process, a decision would be made on whether there should be a retrial.

② Another problem was whether or not to consider the cases judged under the Law of National Defense involving a court martial as irrevocably judged court cases. The court martial cases under the Law of National Defense before November 1954 had no constitutional ground and had with it no appeal procedure, which denied subjects the right to have trials before judges of the court. Thus, these cases deemed unconstitutional by the Commission. For example, when investigations on the case of Choi Neung-Jin (1951) began, the Commission did not consider the court martial to be under the basic law.

③ Cases of illegal detention by government investigation agencies are defined as a crime under Criminal Suit Procedure Law, Article 420, Paragraph 7. Here, illegal detention is seen as (a) detention without a warrant and (b) investigations by an investigation agency that does not have proper jurisdiction. In the category of detention without a warrant, not only were there cases involving long term detentions without a warrant but also numerous cases of urgent arrests and arrests of flagrant delict which normally requires exceptional approvals under a specific procedure by the court, whereby only general warrants were issued. In such cases, while the warrants were not illegal, the period of unauthorized detention was illegal. Cases in the category of investigation by an investigation agency that did not have proper jurisdiction include the investigation of civilians by military investigation bodies such as the Korea Army Counter Intelligence Corps, Army Security Forces, and Special Security Command, the forced relinquishment of the Buil Scholarship Foundation assets through an investigation conducted by the Korea Central Intelligence Agency without legal grounds, and the violation of emergency measures against Oh Jong-Sang.

④ In establishing that there was torture and abuse in the cases of Article 420 Paragraph 7 of the Criminal Suit Procedure Law, it was difficult to provide supporting evidence other than the statements of victims on whether there was no expressed confession by the accused. The cases of torture and abuse were acknowledged if there was corroborative evidence, such as the testimony of other interrogators, coherent testimonies by multiple victims, deposition by warders and family about sequelae and its treatment, the testimony of interrogation officers, and the extensive analysis of other circumstances.


  1. Methodology of investigation

① For the Korean-Japanese cases, in question was the validity of the documents certified by the consulate as evidence. Consulate statements do not have any legal authority, so they are not regarded as officially produced by a government representative. Instead, validity was assessed by the Commission on whether the court examined its validity as special evidence, on the qualification of the consul, and on whether the contents of the documents corresponded to facts.



② For the investigation of suspicious deaths, the Commission extended beyond cross-examinations between the related parties and introduced a public-trial type of evidence finding process which grants participants the right to inquire and ask questions. This was adopted because of the importance of applicants being able to raise suspicion and find the truth.

③ In the case of the torture and abuse of Kim Ik-Hwan and his family, where the victims were unable to properly give depositions, psychological treatment was provided.



  1. Analysis of the meaning of major cases (1) Suspicious cases of North Korean spy fabrication

Suspicious cases of North Korean spy fabrication are divided into three categories: ① The case of someone who crossed the border from North Korea into South Korea; ② the case of someone who was kidnapped to North Korea during the Korean War and then returned to South Korea later to join his family, or someone who went to North Korea together with his family and returned to South Korea; and ③ fishermen kidnapped by North Korea.

① The first type of fabrication applies to the case of the North Korean refugee, Yang Jun-Ho; the torture case of the former chief prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice, Wi Cheong-Ryong; and the falsification of espionage charges against Lee Soo-Keun. Most of these cases occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Yang Jun-Ho was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Wi Cheong-Ryong died during the investigation, and Lee Soo-Keun was sentenced to death.

② The second type applies to the spy fabrication case of Lee Jun-Ho and Bae Byung-Hee, the falsification of espionage charges against Seok Dal-Yun and others, the case of Kim Gi-Sam, and the torture and abuse of Kim Ik-Hwan and his family. The defining feature of these cases was that the families of the accused were punished as well. Lee Jun-Ho and Bae Byung-Hee were mother and son while Seok Dal-Yun, Park Gong-Sim, Chang Je-Young, and Kim Jeong-In were family members or friends of Park Yang-Min, a North Korean spy detached to South Korea. Usually the spies from North Korea were detached to South Korea in the 1960s for a single tour. Yet, the victims were punished for espionage activities in the early 1980s which was statute-barred. They were tortured and abused while being interrogated on the frequency of their dispatches from North Korea, on their specific espionage activities, and on their visits to North Korea.

③ The third type applies to the Taeyoungho abduction case, the case of returned fisherman Kang Dae-Gwang, the case of kidnapped fisherman Seo Chang-Deok, the falsification of spy charges against Jeong Sam-Geun, and the case of returned fisherman Baek Nam-Ok and five others in violation of the Anti-communist Act and the National Security Law. These cases are related to fishermen who were abducted by North Korea or who crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and were detained in North Korea before they returned to South Korea in the 1960s. The victims were punished based on willful negligence (connivance or acknowledgement of crossing the border; knowing that they were doing so). Meanwhile, the government forced residents of the area to monitor one another for ten years and punished them a second and third time on the pretext of admiration of North Korea in the 1980s. These cases are distinctive in that during the process of comprehensive investigation and fabrication, the cases not only involved the



victims themselves but encompassed the entire village as well. The victims were upset by the false testimony of the villagers while the villagers resented the victims for giving their names during interrogations. A deep mistrust among villagers emerged, which led to the dismantling of the community for many years.


  1. Suspicious cases of spy fabrications regarding Korean-Japanese

The suspicious cases of spy fabrications involving Korean-Japanese are categorized into two types.

① The first type involves the victims in Korea who would meet their relatives in Japan to exchange money. This applies to the case of Shin Gui-Young and his family, the case of Cha Pung-Gil, the case of Lee Jang-Hyung, and the case of Kim Yang-Gi. Such cases are similar in that the victims met their relatives in Japan with regard to routine issues and their relatives (without the victims’ knowledge) were members or leaders of the Pro-Pyeongyang Federation of Korean Residents in Japan. Communicating with each other was punished since it was regarded as divulging national secrets. Furthermore, their visits of Japan were deemed by investigation agencies as visits to contact leaders of an espionage group. When the identity of the contact in Japan was unclear, an identity statement of the consulate was falsified by a member of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency to infer receipt of instruction for anti-state activities. Even though the identity statement of the consulate was a simple investigative document with no legal authority, the court, under a clear violation of principles of the court that states that all judgments should be based on legal evidence, decided to accept the document as if it were written by a public official on duty. In addition, investigation agencies, without reasonable evidence, disrupted Korean residents in Japan by condemning all organizations critical of the Korean government, even those not associated with the Pro-Pyeongyang Federation as anti-national organizations.

② The second type of spy fabrication involving Korean-Japanese is that which pertains to Korean-Japanese raised in Japan, came to Korea to study, and were later accused of spying. The victims lacked appropriate protection against the fabricated charged due to their lack of understanding of Korean policies and language. Such a case applies to the Korean-Japanese student Lee Jong-Soo accused of violating the National Security Law. The Korean-Japanese people accused and punished by the Korean government as spies organized a prisoner of conscience community and applied for investigation at the Commission. These fabrication cases caused serious disruption in the Korean community in Japan and further alienated the victims who beared a strong distrust towards Korea from the rest of the Korean-Japanese community.


  1. Suspicious cases of political-related fabrications

The 1950s were times of rapid change in domestic politics. Political-related fabrication cases include the case of Jo Bong-Am of the Progressive Party, the case of Jo Yong-Su of the Minjok Daily, the forced relinquishment of the Buil Scholarship Foundation assets, the case of Oh Jong-Sang in violating the emergency measures issued during the Yushin period which followed the revision of the constitution to allow three consecutive terms of presidency, the death case of Kim Gyeong-Suk of the YH Labor Union, the case of the OSonghoe in the early 1980s, the case of the Aramhoe, and the Sabuk strike in 1980.

The case of Kang Ki-Hoon is different from the cases above, because it involves



forgery. It is however closely related with the others in that all of the cases involve the public security ruling system. The punishment for these cases was usually harsh. Jo Bong-Am, Jo Yong-Su, and the members of the People's Revolutionary Party were sentenced to death and executed.

These cases are distinctive in that the victims were framed as being spies or pro-communist groups, because they supported peaceful reunion with North Korea or dialogue between the two Koreas which was against the government's policy at the time. Furthermore, the cases of Kim Gyeong-Suk, Oh Jong-Sang, and the Sabuk strike are unique in that the victims were members of the general public.


  1. Other cases

The fabricated Guro farmland lawsuit case was an example of the government’s abuse of power in implementing development plans. The forced relinquishment of the Buil Scholarship Foundation assets on the other hand was an example of severe infringement by the Korea Central Intelligence Agency of the freedom of speech and property rights. The 23rd and 24th national bar exam, in which the victims were disqualified for interviews, demonstrates illegal reprisal against people involved in the democratization movements and is a violation of human rights.



  1. Main verified cases


The Fabricated Espionage Charge against Lee Jun-Ho and Bae Byung-Hee - Verified on December 19, 2008,

Lee Jun-Ho and his mother, Bae Byung-Hee, were accused of abetting a North Korean spy’s espionage activities. Lee was sentenced to serve seven years, and his mother was sentenced to serve three years in prison. They appealed for truth verification to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on May 17, 2006. The Commission found that they were illegally arrested and detained by the Seoul Metropolitan Police. Hereby, the Commission ascertained that the truth was verified and recommended that the government offer an official apology, restore the victims’ honor, and hold a retrial.


Fabricated Espionage Case of Gu Myeong-Seo – Verified on November 18, 2008

The Commission found that in 1985, the Defense Security Command (hereafter referred to as DSC), did not have the jurisdiction needed to conduct investigations on civilians. Nevertheless, they forcibly detained a civilian, Gu Myeong-Seo (then 33 years old), and through the use of torture, coerced him to falsely confess that he was a North Korean spy and punished him accordingly.

The Commission reviewed trial records, the ruling and other relevant documents, as well as interviewed reference witnesses and former investigators of the DSC in order to verify the facts of the incident.

In 1985, Gu operated a restaurant where a customer introduced him to a Korean-Japanese man known as "Mr. K". The customer suggested to Gu that “Mr. K" may help his business. Gu followed this advice and visited Japan five times to retrieve business funds from "Mr. K".

Meanwhile, information was given to the South Korean authorities that Mr. K was a member of the Jochongnyeon (the pro-North Korean residents´ league in Japan). In



September 1985, without a warrant, the DSC arrested Gu at his home. Military investigators beat and tortured Gu for 41 days without providing a proper arrest warrant.

After being detained by the DSC, Gu was forbidden to see a lawyer or his family for 79 days. Eventually, Gu falsely confessed that he was a North Korean spy and was subsequently sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment before being released on parole in May 1991.

The Commission found that although Gu met Mr. K in Japan, there was not any clear evidence that Mr. K was a senior official of the Jochongnyeon. The Commission also could not find sufficient evidence regarding Gu’s espionage activities. Instead, the Commission confirmed that his false confession was due to the torture administered by military investigators.

The Commission recommended that the government offer an official apology to the victim and his family and take relevant measures to restore the victim’s honor, such as a retrial.


Disqualified Case for Civil Servant Examination - Verified on November 18, 2008

The Commission found that in 1980, the government deliberately disqualified former student demonstrators from the civil servant examination. The Commission verified that the Minister of Government Administration ordered interviewers to disqualify applicants who participated in student demonstrations. As a result, the applicants were barred from passing the interview portion for two years.

In 1980, the Ministry of Government Administration (MGA) instituted that "Candidates who participated in demonstrations while attending college are barred from recruitment". The following policy was subsequently implemented by interviewers. The National Security Agency provided the MGA with a blacklist of student demonstrators. The MGA then order their interviewers to disqualify any candidates on the list.

A former official of the MGA testified that he received orders regarding the policy from the Minister of the MGA. Interviewers ‘Y’ and ‘S’ also testified that “at that time, an official demanded that they reconsider recruiting former student demonstrators for the civil servant position”. Taking this demand into account, the interviewers unfairly disqualified five civil servant candidates during interviews.

As a result, in January 1982, one of the disqualified interviewees committed suicide. The Commission recommended that the government offer an official apology to the late victim and to his bereaved family members and also take relevant measures for others, such as nullifying the disqualification of former interviewees.


Suspicious Death of Major Yun Tae-Hyun - Verified on October 21, 2008

The Commission concluded that the summary execution of Major Yun Tae-hyun, accused of violating an operation command, was hastily imposed without following judicial procedures appropriate to his rank, e.g., court-martialing him. The Commission verified the case by thoroughly reviewing relevant case documents from the Korean Army Archive and testimonies from infantrymen of the 21st Regiment.

Born in Gongju, Chungnam Province in June 1919, Yun Tae-hyun was involved in activities of the Independence Army, which was based in Shanghai under the authority of the Korean Provisional Government. After being appointed an officer, Yun was sent on a subjugation operation against the North Korean People’s Army in the Samchuck-gun region in April 1950.



Yun was assigned as a battalion chief of the 21st Regiment of the 8th Division Army, and it was amid combat operations in the Danyang, Poonggi, and Youngju regions when he was summarily executed on July 17, 1950, after being accused of failing to follow operation commands. The execution order came from the commanding officer of the 21st Regiment.

At the time of the incident, the 8th Division Army consisted of two regiments. Due to inferior combat equipment and capacity, the two regiments struggled to engage the North Korean People’s Army in the region. When the 1st Battalion, led by Yun, failed to defend its post and retreated, the commanding chief of the 21st Regiment reprimanded Yun for violating operation commands and summarily executed him.

A witness, only to be revealed by his surname, Song, testified at the Commission:

On the evening of July 17, a young man wearing only his underwear stood next to a pit. Behind him were two MPs with Calvin rifles. They shot him from behind; the young man who was killed turned out to be Major Yun Tae-hyun.

In addition, a captain of the 3rd Battalion of the 21st Regiment (also revealed only by his surname, Maeng) testified that Yun was executed, because he violated a commanding order. The only legitimate judicial background applicable to Yun’s death is the Army Instruction

No. 12 issued by the Army Chief of Staff describes the authority given to those ranking higher than squad leaders, such as an authorization to use summary execution only if one deserts from his missions without given orders. The No. 12 instruction was authorized at 11:00 a.m. on July 25, 1950, weeks after the Yun's execution, and was annulled in July 1951 by Army Instruction No. 191. Hereby, the summary execution of Yun could not have been bound by the Army Instruction No.12, i.e., there was no legality in Yun’s death.

The authority for summary execution fails to meet any judicial ground in Korea’s legal system. Furthermore, Korea’s Martial Law and Act on the Organization of National Armed Forces described the composition of the court-martial and remitting procedures thereto. Therefore, the implementing of summary executions due to a failure to follow orders is against human rights such as the right to life and the right to fair trial. The army instruction by the Army Chief of Staff that allowed the summary execution of Yun did not have any legal ground in Korea’s constitution thus making the execution an illegitimate exercise of public power.

Army Instruction No. 191 which annulled summary executions shows that the Armed Forces of the Republic of Korea has obligations to abide by rule of law. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Korea has since repented for past summary executions by wording it as "dishonorable". Conversely, according to the Ministry of Defense, although Yun Tae-hyun was discharged from his post as of August 20, 1950, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Military Merit Hwarang in December 1950. Hereby, the Commission recommended the government apologize to the bereaved family of Yun and take appropriate measures to reinstate the honor of the deceased.


The forced staff layoff and advertiser coercion of the DongA Ilbo - Verified on October 21, 2008

From 1974 to 1975, the government seized control of the news media. The Commission confirmed that the KCIA (the predecessor of the National Intelligence



Service), during Park Chung-Hee’s regime, orchestrated the well-known forced staff layoff and advertiser coercion of the DongA Ilbo. According to the Commission's investigation, the KCIA summoned companies with significant advertising contracts to the infamous KCIA facility in Seoul’s Namsan area. The KCIA had company representatives sign a pledge to cancel their advertising contracts with the news company, including the daily DongA Ilbo and DongA Broadcasting. Individuals who purchased smaller advertising contracts were either called in or physically detained and threatened with tax audits. Before advertising could resume, the KCIA demanded that five senior ranking newspaper section chiefs would have to report to them. The DongA Ilbo accommodated the government with these demands.Besides attacking the advertisers, the KCIA forced the DongA Ilbo to fire 49 journalists and “indefinitely suspend” 84 others. The removal of any individuals potentially critical of the government effectively suppressed the media. The Commission during the investigation found that DongA Ilbo executives aided the government by “cooperating with the suppression of press freedom, claiming that the journalists were being fired for managerial reasons rather than admitting that the terminations were forced by the regime". With the Commission's finding, DongA Ilbo will have a hard time avoiding responsibility for damaging the freedom of the press, the livelihoods of its journalists, and its own honor. Instead of protecting journalists who stood by the newspaper to defend its honor and press freedom, the DongA Ilbo surrendered to the unjust demands of the Yusin regime (Park Chung-Hee’s Administration) by firing the journalists at the government’s insistence. In a report issued on October 29, 2008, the Commission recommended that the government and the DongA Ilbo "apologize to those who were fired and make appropriate amends" for what is defined as “a case in which the state power apparatus, in the form of the KCIA, engaged in serious civil rights violations”.


The Dongmyeong Timber Corporation case - Verified on October 17, 2008

The Commission verified that in 1980, the newly emerged military junta confiscated properties belonging to the Dongmyeong Timber Corporation (DTC). In June 1980, to justify the confiscation, the junta deliberately labeled the DTC an anti-social and corrupt corporation. While the junta did not accuse the DTC of a specific crime, they still investigated them. Around June 15, 1980, military investigators arrested DTC executives and illegally detained them from 15 days to two months. During the detainment, the investigators tortured the detainees and coerced them into writing promises that would surrender the DTC properties to the military junta. Then, based on those written promises, all of the DTC’s properties were sold to Busan City and the Korea Land Corporation. This incident and its direct influence over government cabinet members and ministers demonstrated the power wielded by the newly emerged junta. Besides the junta’s abuse of political power, they also violated basic human rights by abolishing the press, persecuting Buddhist monks, seizing private property, and establishing a labor camp known as the Samcheong Educational Corps. This case is a typical example of the junta violating constitutionally guaranteed rights by illegally exercising public power. Commission recommended the government take relevant measures to prevent the recurrence of any incident that may threaten constitutional order, measures to promote democratic citizenship, and measures to establish an administrative system to protect political dissidents, as well as to offer an apology to the victims and bereaved families.




The National Security Law Violation Incident of Korean-Japanese Student Lee Jong-Su - Verified on September 23, 2008

The Commission found that the Defense Security Command (DSC) went beyond their jurisdiction by illegally detaining Lee Jong-Su and punishing him on fabricated charges. Lee was born and raised in Japan. With the intention of being a Korean language teacher in Japan, he entered Korea in April 1980. He studied Korean at a governmental language school for a year and in 1981, he enrolled at Korea University. In November 1982, Defense Security Command officers arrested him at his house without a warrant.

Lee was illegally imprisoned for 39 days and was forced to confess to his “criminal activities” in espionage after suffering brutal beatings and torture. The DSC had fabricated the espionage charge after they were unable to find any evidence. Lee later denied the espionage charge before the public prosecutor and stated that he issued the false confession to escape further torture while being detained. Due to threats by a DSC investigator however, Lee withdrew his statement. During the trial, Lee frequently requested a Japanese translator due to his lack of Korean, but the court declined his request. When he presented a Japanese language petition, the court rejected it.

Lee was eventually sentenced to ten years in prison on the espionage charge but was released in June 1988, five years and eight months later. Due to this incident, Lee was unable to continue his studies. As a Korean-Japanese, he had originally been permitted to stay in Korea for four years, but this was reduced to one year. The Commission recommended that the government apologize to Lee and his family and hold a retrial or take relevant measures to restore his honor.


The Human Rights Abuse Case of Lim Seong-Kook - Verified on September 9, 2008 The Commission ascertained Lim Seong-Kook was forcefully taken by the Gwangju Security Forces and tortured during his twenty eight hours of detention. At the time of the incident, the Gwangju Security Forces did not have investigative jurisdiction and furthermore abused its power by repeatedly torturing Lim Seong-Kook during the interrogation. He died two weeks after his release as a result of injuries suffered during


Without a warrant, the Gwangju Security Forces forcibly detained Lim Seong-Kook in July 1985 and placed him under custody on an espionage charge alleging that he was in contact and cooperating with North Korean spies. The landlord’s family, with whom Lim had a close relationship with until his arrest, was imprisoned for meeting Lim's brother who had been dispatched as a spy from North Korea in 1969.

The security forces’ interrogators in Gwangju were aware of the restrictions of the judicial measures while investigating civilians. Nevertheless, they illegally arrested and interrogated Lim. In accordance with combined statements from eye witnesses and other references, including the interrogators, it was found that Lim was wrongfully detained and tortured, which was the main cause of his death.

Lim suffered severe damage from physical and mental suffering from the torture he received. No adequate medical treatment however was given to him after he was released. Furthermore, as the main income earner, Lim’s family suffered severe financial difficulties after he died. The unjust discrimination the family received from their neighbors drove them to relocate to Gunsan in the Jeonbuk Province.

After enduring decades of silence, the bereaved family petitioned the Presidential



Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea to find the truth concerning Lim’s death. Their petitions were rejected however, because they either missed the application period or the statue of limitations had expired.

Lim’s family testified that people neglected or failed to believe in their claim that his death was a result of the public authority’s harsh interrogation tactics. Additionally, they stated that they did not know which authorities were responsible for Lim’s forceful abduction and torture. In particular, fear of further persecution for seeking the truth inhibited them from bringing the case to attention.

This case indicates that widespread fear and distrust of public power is deeply rooted in Korean society and suggests that it is necessary to implement adequate education on preventive measures concerning manipulation of public power and protection of human rights. Hereby, the commission recommended the government to offer a formal apology to Lim’s family and conduct adequate acts for reconciliation.


The Fabricated Espionage Case of Oh Ju-Seok - Verified on September 9, 2008

The Commission found that National Security Planning (NSP) agents illegally arrested and punished Oh Ju-Seok on fabricated criminal charges. In May 1980, Oh (then 51 years old) traveled to Japan on a business trip, where he met his Korean-Japanese relative. Three years later, in March 1983, NSP agents arrested him at his house without a warrant.

Oh was investigated for 58 days without the presence of a lawyer. During the interrogation, he was brutally tortured and beaten by NSP investigators. He was indicted on charges of disclosing national secrets and accepting money from his relatives in Japan. During the trial however, he denied such charges and stated that he made a false confession due to the brutal torture and pressure he received from the investigators.

Oh was sentenced to seven years in prison for espionage but was released on parole in December 1988, five years and eight months later. After this incident, he suffered discrimination and disgrace for the espionage charges and had great difficulty returning to an ordinary life. This is a typical case of the 1980s for a person with Korean-Japanese relatives. They were detained under fabricated accusations, beaten, and finally charged as a North Korean spy before being imprisoned. The Commission recommended that the government apologize and take relevant measures, such as a retrial to restore the honor of the victim.


Abuses of Governmental Power against the Guro Farmland Owners - Verified on July 8, 2008

The Commission verified that the government abused its power by fabricating facts concerning the Guro farmland owners. In 1942, the Japanese Ministry of Defense confiscated the land of 200 farmers in the Guro area. The farmers continued to use the land under the supervision of the Central Land Administration Bureau, even after Korea’s liberation in 1945. Beginning in 1961, the government constructed an industrial complex and some public housing on the land. In 1964, the farmers claimed rightful ownership of the land and brought several civil action lawsuits against the government. The rulings for many of these cases were not passed until after 1968.

By that time, the government began appealing the rulings. They appealed three cases in 1968 and one case in 1970. They accused the defendants of defrauding the government and launched an investigation. The prosecutor arrested the accused without



warrants or explanation and coerced them into surrendering their rights through the use of violence. The Commission's investigation did not uncover any evidence that supports the accusations that the Guro farmland owners were defrauding the government.

A lack of evidence and the fact that the civil action suit rulings were already passed did not deter the government from demanding the defendants to surrender their rights. After 40 of the defendants refused to accept such a demand, several lawsuits were brought against them. The prosecution accused them of fraud and attempted to punish the defendants by holding criminal trials.

Official documents verify that the defendants were eligible for farmland distributed by the government under the Farming Land Reform Act. The farmers therefore had a right to the land. Although most of the defendants were cleared of suspicion, the government conducted a second investigation to punish them. The Commission recommended the government officially apologize, hold a retrial, and conduct relevant measures for the defendants.


The Fabricated Espionage Charge against Kim Yang-Gi - Verified on June 23, 2008

Petitioner Kim Yang-Gi appealed for truth verification regarding his being falsely accused and convicted on an espionage charge. Kim argued that his conviction was a result of a false confession after being illegally detained and tortured. The Commission verified that the Gwangju Security Forces illegally confined and severely tortured Kim during the interrogation. Furthermore, the Commission ascertained that the rules for gathering evidence were violated and recommended that the government officially apologize and hold a retrial.


The Fabricated Spy Case of Five Fishermen Kidnapped to North Korea - Verified on June 3, 2008

The Commission’s investigation into North Korea’s kidnapping of the five fishermen found that the organization overseeing investigations illegally detained and interrogated the returning men and their families. Based on the organization’s fabrications, the detained were falsely accused and punished for espionage.

On July 22, 1967, the crew of the fishing vessel, Song-yang, operated off the coast of Soyeonpyeong-do when a North Korean coastal defense ship kidnapped them. After a month of captivity, the North Koreans released the fishermen on the West Coast where they were met by Korean police officers who promptly questioned them before releasing them without charges.

In December 1968, a year after the kidnapping, a special investigation organization interrogated, without a warrant, five of the fishermen in regards to their work at the time of the incident. While it had been determined that sea currents carried the Song-yang within range of the North Korean coastal defense ship, the organization accused the men of escaping to North Korea and then infiltrating South Korea for propaganda purposes. The organization illegally detained all of the men, including one of their wives, for eighty-eight days. The wife was accused of receiving counterfeit money and coded messages from three unidentified men thought to be spies, as well as accused of failing to notify the authorities.

During the imprisonment, the organization subjected the victims to abusive interrogation tactics, including torture and assault. Initial reports indicated the Song-yang to actually have been in South Korean waters at the time of the kidnapping, but the



interrogators coerced the fishermen to sign false statements saying otherwise. The organization also falsified charges against the wife after they detained her on accusations of accepting counterfeit money. No specific evidence of the unidentified men existed neither was there any evidence of anyone of that nature visiting her house. The counterfeit money of 500,000 won and the coded message were not found or mentioned in any investigation document, and no report describing such an incident was ever submitted to the court.

The fishermen were sentenced to serve between one to five years in prison. The wife was sentenced to serve one year in prison and one year of probation. As they served their sentences, their families encountered discrimination due to the stigma of being related to suspected North Korea spies. This ostracizing negatively affected many of the family members’ employment prospects as they were unable to obtain jobs. Besides the social stigmatization the victims experienced after their release, the fishermen suffered psychological trauma from torture and abusive treatment.

The special investigation organization did not limit the scope of the probe to the fishermen. Instead, they extended their interrogations to village acquaintances. Such wide sweeping investigations further ostracized the men and disrupted the amicable relations of the community by exacerbating hostility and discrimination. The Commission recommends that the government apologize to the victims and reexamine or take action of similar level to repair the damage and restore the honor of the victims and their families.


The Falsification of an Espionage Charge against Lee Jang-Hyung - Verified on May 20, 2008

Petitioner Lee Jang-Hyung appealed for truth verification concerning an espionage charge he was held under. Lee pleaded that his charge was fabricated and that he endured a series of abuses by the state, such as an illegal arrest and long term detention. The Commission found that Lee’s false confession was a consequence of illegal confinement and inhumane torture conducted during the interrogation. The Commission ascertained that the petition was verified true and recommended that the government offer an official apology and hold a retrial.


(to be continued)





Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years(6) Analysis of Verified Cases(2) 

►Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years(5) Analysis of Verified Cases(1)

 Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years(4) Extra-Investigation Activities

Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years(3) Procedure for Investigation

Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years(2) Introduction to the commission

►Truth and Reconciliation Activities of the Past Three Years (1) I. Historical Background of Korea's Past Settlement 

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