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Lee Bong-woo
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Abductee: Lee Bong-woo
Recorded Date: May 25th, 2005

Profile of Abductee

Name: Lee Bong-woo
Date of Birth: June 9, 1924
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea
Last Address: Seodun-dong, Suwon City, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
(Agrarian Development Office’s House)
Date of Abduction: August 21, 1950 (age 26)
Place of Abduction: Seodun-dong, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do (Agrarian Development Office), S. Korea
Occupation: Inspect section chief at Agrarian Development office
Education/Career: Seoul Agricultural Academy
Dependents: Mother, younger sister, wife and one son.
Appearance/Personality: tall and healthy / mild-mannered

Profile of Testifiers

Name: 1. Yoo Jung-ok(born in 1930); 2. Lee So-woo(born in 1942); 3. Lee Sang-il(born in 1949)
Relation: 1. Wife 2. Sister 3. Son
Type of Witnesses: direct and indirect

Summary of the Abduction

- Abductee Lee Bong-woo was a civil servant who developed a lot of entomological (insect) research substantially, and he was a Catholic.
- During the war, the abductee’s family evacuated to Bongdam Gyeonggi-do. The abductee often visited the Agrarian Development office to find his research sources.
- The day Lee Bong-Woo was abducted, he and his younger sister Lee So-woo were having lunch at the office, when Professor Kim Ho-sik who was an acquaintance and Section chief Hwang visited him. - They asked LEE Bong-Woo to come along with them to the Political Bureau, and after that there was no further news.
- One week later, only Professor Kim Ho-sik came back. We think communists planned to get abductees by using his friends.

Description of abduction

Q. Where were your father and mother when the Korean War started?
LSI: (Hwasung-gun) Bongdam. They evacuated there. They just evacuated when the war started. My father often went to office. The address was the old Agrarian Development office Seodun-dong, Jin-Heung-Chung, Suwon City. I heard news that he was abducted there on August 21.

Q. Was there any witnesses?
YJO: I didn’t see it but my sister in law (Lee So-Woo) was the only witness.

Q. Did you hear how he was abducted?
YJO: We heard 6 years later that he was arrested and taken to the North with his hands tied.

LSW: His two friends came and said “Let’s go.” That meant they would go to the Political Bureau. They thought the communists will let them go if they hand in a self-confession statement. They were just naïve to be believed what the communists said.
The day he abducted, he and I were having lunch. Professor Kim Ho-Sik and Hwang who was the chemistry section chief, came and said “Mr. Lee, let’s go.” When they left, I asked him “Where are you going?” and he said, “I will be back.” He said he would go to the Political Bureau and there would be no punishment because he was not guilty.

Q. Is there any possibility Kim Ho-sik and Hwang section chief were left wing side?
LSW: I only know that they are Catholics, came from North Korea and their parents were quite rich. I really don’t know what their parents did. Kim Ho-sik released after one week, but my brother and Hwang didn’t

Q. You are a witness, please tell us specifically what happened.
LSW: At that time, I was too young to know what is going on and we lived at the Agrarian Development Office’s house Seodun-dong in Suwon. I, my cousin and sister in law and my mother lived there and we evacuated to Bongdam near Suwon during the war. We only brought a few things with us to survive. My brother was 27 years old and he worked as an insect researcher. He had butterfly and other insect collections which he collected since the Japanese colonial times. Because of this even during evacuation he came to the residence to check whether his collection is safe. I went everywhere my bother went. When he came to the residence like, we had lunch together. Then two of his friends came and ask him to go somewhere, the Political Bureau. That was one or two o’clock. in day time. He didn’t come back after he left. There was no news.

Q. Did you try to find your father?
YJO: My aunt tried to find him here and there for a month and they always answered, “Come tomorrow or later.” So she couldn’t meet him. My aunt said “just bring his clothes” so I did. But we don’t know whether he got it or not.

Reason behind the Abduction

Q. What do you think was the reason he was abducted?
LSI: He was a civil servant who conducted entomological research much and he was a Catholic. Also, his wife’s side was wealthy.

News after the Abduction

Q. Was there any news since he was abudcted?
LSI: No news so far.

Q. Following the life identification form, you wrote about his news?
LSI: I heard it from my uncle. It is an unidentified story. He met a friend who said to have seen my father after the abduction. According to him, my father was roped and was being taken at Yeoncheon.
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