Aug. 3, 2011 - Gov. Official Acknowledge 55
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2014-01-14 12:22:10  |  Hit 1044

After 61 years… The government officially acknowledged the existence of the abductees during the Korean War
Only 420 reports were submitted out of 80,000 abductees. Families just hope to have remains back if dead

Chosun Daily
Aug. 3, 2011

The Korean government officially recognized 55 civilians taken to the North during the Korean War as the victims of the Korean War abduction.

The government assumes that the number of Korean War abductees is approximately 80,000 based on five lists of Korean War abductees published by the Bureau of Public Information, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of National Defense in the 1950s and 1960s. This was the first time that the government has officially recognized the very fact that individuals had been abducted.

The 55 victims of abduction were recognized by the “National Committee on Investigating Abductions by North Korea during the Korean War and Restoring Honor of the Victims,” which is chaired by the Prime Minister and include 8 politicians (including Kim Sang-deok, former member of the Constituent National Assembly), 3 public officials, 2 legal professionals, 2 policemen, 5 students and 1 journalist. 54 of the abductees are male and only 1 is female.

The Committee was established on 13 December 2010 on the basis of the “Act on Investigating Abductions by North Korea during the Korean War and Restoring Honor to the Victims,” which passed the National Assembly in March 2010. The Committee plans to review reports on the abductees quarterly.

◆ Heartbreaking stories of the families of the abductees

On the 2nd, the government officially recognized Ha Gyeok-hong (89) as an abductee who was taken to the North during the Korean War. His youngest daughter, Ha Yeong-nam (60) said, “I know that I won’t be able to see my father even though he is now recognized as an abductee.

But I submitted a report on him, hoping that the North Korean regime would one day admit their crime and I could find the truth about his abduction.” Mr. Ha went missing after he was taken by agents from the Security Bureau who came to his home in 4, Namchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, saying that they had something to ask.

It was August 1950, right after Ms. Ha was born. The family assumes that Mr. Ha was taken to the North because he was involved in the Korea Young Men's Association, a rightist group, while running a mill.

Seong Gap-sun (86), wife of Ha Gyeok-hong, was only 26 years old when her husband was abducted. After his abduction, she raised their three daughters alone, waiting for her husband to return.

She began writing a dairy in January 1959. The very first page of her diary starts with the line, “I see you every day in my dreams. You are the only one whom I miss greatly. It already has been ten years that I have lived in tears and sorrow.” She still writes in her diary even after she emigrated to Canada to ease her pain.

Im Un-gi (75), younger brother of Im Suk-gi (78), testified that North Korean soldiers came to his house in Mapo-gu, Seoul, during the occupation of Seoul in July 1950. Im Un-gi said, “The North Korean soldiers lined us up and took my brother, who was in better shape, saying that it would only take a minute. My brother said that he would come home soon and told me to go back to sleep. But he never returned.”

Lee Jong-ryeong, who is 101 years old if he is still living, made it into the official abductees list. His daughter, Lee Seong-ui (62), said that her father was taken to the North because he worked as a prosecutor before the outbreak of the Korean War.

◆ Middle and high school students were also abducted

Among the list of abductees recognized by the government are 1 middle school and 2 high school students. One high school student who lived in Boryeong, South Chungcheong province was abducted just because his brother was a policeman.

Lee Sang-gyu (60 at the time of abduction), Democratic Party activist, and Hwang Gi-seong (50 at the time of abduction), Vice-chair of the Korean Women’s Association and Vice-president of the magazine Wife, were taken to the North during the Korean War while living in Singyo-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul.
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