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Kim Jae-bong
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2013-12-26 15:53:15  |  Hit 1760
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Abductee: Kim Jae-bong
Recorded Date: October 11th, 2005

Profile of Abductee

Name: Kim Jae-bong (male)
Date of Birth: July 17, 1920
Place of Birth: Ganghwa-gun, Incheon, South Korea
Last Address: Eumnae-ri, Gyodong-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon, South Korea
Date of Abduction: August 20, 1950 (age 30)
Place of Abduction: Ceiling of the main room
Occupation: Member of the Financial Association of the Gyodong branch
Education/Career: Seoul Agriculture High School / Head of the Daehan Youth Corp
Dependents: Wife (pregnant)
Appearance/Personality: Average Height, Handsome / Good and Introspective Character

Profile of Witness

Name: Kim Hang-tae (born in 1929)
Relation: Wife
Type of Witness: Direct witness

Summary of the Abduction

- Kim Jae-bong (male, 31 at the time of abduction) was head of the Korea Young Men's Association (rightist group) and worked for Financial Association in Gyo-dong Branch.
- When the Korean War broke out, Kim Jae-bong, his wife, and his 10 nephews and nieces evacuated to Incheon but compelled to come back his hometown in Ganghwa Island, in July 1950.
- Kim Jae-bong escaped to his sister’s house in Samsan-myeon, the local leftists and officers of Internal Bureau took him and severely beat him. After a few days of detention, he was released.
- Kim Jae-bong was abducted around Sept. 28th retreat. He was abducted at that time along with other local residents by the Communist soldiers who were falling back.
- Although 60 years have passed, his whereabouts has not been revealed due to the noncooperation of North Korea.
- Kim Jae-bong was mentioned several times in abductee statistics, put together by the South Korean government and the Korea National Red Cross, and in the CIA Information Report, those are listing names of South Koreans captured by North Korea. Based on those documents, Choi Jun was granted legal status of an abductee from the South Korean government.

Detail of the Abduction

Q. Please tell us about the abductee.
My husband worked for a financial association and was a head of the Korea Young Men's Association (rightist group). I remember a story he told me when we were dating. Even before the outbreak of the Korea War, leftists living in our town went to each household and urged every young man and woman to stamp a seal to join the Communist Party.
My husband, who was involved in the patriotic movement, patrolled the town with police officers to stop the leftists’ activities. Because his room was full of books, young people in the town came to his house to read or borrow books. His house was always crowded with young people. There were quite a number of young followers. He put great importance on youth education so that they would not be deceived by the leftists.

Q. Did you evacuate after the Korean War broke out?
When the war broke out, my husband and I took ten nephews and nieces and fled to Incheon on a small boat with some family members of collegues in the Financial Association. However, because we had so many children to take care and went through many hardships, we came back to our home town in July. On our way back, he said “Go to our house in Gyodong. Just wait for me until the situation gets better.” He comforted me and fled to his older sister’s house in Bomunsa, Samsan-myeon.
When children and I got to a dock, the North Korean soldiers, local leftists, and the Internal Bureau officers were waiting for us. They asked me where my husband was. I did not tell them where he was. However, they somehow found him, dragged him out from his sister’s house and beat him mercilessly. He was hit so hard that he bled from the head. There was nothing I could do. I just shed tears watching him in pain. After a few days of imprisonment, he was released and stayed home for about a month treating his wounds.

Q. Please tell us about the abduction in detail.
We were staying in our house in Ganghwa Island. About ten days before Seoul was recaptured, a neighbor came and told us that the North Korean Army retreated. I thought something was wrong. Two days later, the North Korean soldiers came to Ganghwa Island. Staying for few days, they abducted people.
The day after the soldiers were gone, at dawn, there was a sudden loud knocking at the door, followed by a sound of door breaking. My husband quickly went up to the ceiling to hide but was soon discovered by North Korean soldiers. The soldiers and local leftists flocked in and surrounded our house. They yelled at my husband to get down and, as soon as he climbed down, they took him away. I was pregnant at that time and passed out at the scene.

Q. Was it the last scene of him you saw?
When I woke up, my aunt held me up to stand and I helped me to see my husband being taken away. I went to a place where the Internal Bureau put people together before taking them to the North. Two to three people were tied together with wires, and my husband was also there. He did not seem to be recognizing me because he could barely open his eyes from severe beating. I could not even stand straight because I became very weak both physically and emotionally after seeing my husband being taken away. He was dragged to the North right in front of me. I stood leaning against my aunt and watched him edging away from my sight. I could not hold nor even call him. I was powerless at the gunpoint. That’s how we were torn apart.
I heard about him after two days. People, who were abducted from Ganghwa Island, passed Gaepung-gun in Gae-seong and went to the North. At that time, people living in Gyodong in Ganghwa Island went back and forth to Yeon-baek in Hwanghae-do(province of North) quite often. It was possible then because the two regions were geographically very close. In particular, elderly women often visited Yeon-baek to go to hot springs. One old lady met my husband on her way back to town, and that was how I got a small piece of note from him. On a torn paper, he wrote that not to worry about him with a signature ‘your husband, Kim Jae-bong.’

Reason behind the Abduction

Q. Why do you think he was abducted?
He was a rightist group’s leader and very eager to block Communism to be spread in the area. That was enough reason to have Internal Bureau to arrest him.

News after the Abduction

Q. Do you know where he was taken to after that?
I really want to know what happened to him after that. I know nothing.
After he was abducted to the North before my eyes, I fled and barely managed to earn a living. Every day was a continuation of sorrow and sadness. It was extremely difficult for a woman to survive a war without her husband. When we were torn apart, he had no idea that I was pregnant.
Therefore, he would not know that his daughter is living in South Korea. My daughter grew up not knowing the face of her father and already has her own grandson. When my husband and I were torn apart by the war, I was a newlywed bride, but now I’m an old lady.
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