NK Defectors Tell About Death Camp 12
Camp 12 Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So
On February 5, LFNKR hosted a seminar during One World Festival, an annual event held in Osaka, Japan. For the seminar this year, LFNKR invited Mr. Sung-hun Kim, the chief of Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) and three North Korean defectors who have resettled in South Korea. Each of the three defectors has experienced the nightmare of North Korea’s Camp 12 Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So, a camp well known for its high death rate.
According to one defector, a man who had been in charge of disposing of the dead while he was detained at the Camp, 859 bodies were incinerated and buried during the 6 months and 19 days from June 30, 1998 to January 19, 1999. This means that 4.5 detainees died every day on average. The causes of death included, of course, extreme malnutrition while being forced to do heavy physical labor, such as mining and lumbering, compounded by constant torture at the hands of Camp guards.
According to the NKDB database, as of the end of 2011, out of all North Korean defectors who have resettled in South Korea, a total of 81 (51 males and 30 females) had been detained at Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So during the period from 1995 to 2009.
Of these 81 people, 62 were arrested and detained for attempting to escape from North Korea, and 4 were charged with expressing complaints about the North Korean regime. Thus, the majority of those detained at Chongo-ri were people who had tried to escape from their country. In 2009 to 2010, about 1,350 females and about 2,000 males were detained at that Camp.
For the accurate location of Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So, click here.
The participants at the seminar were shocked by the stories told by the former detainees and horrified by sketches displayed at the seminar. The sketches were drawn by a few of the former detainees. Several of the sketches are included here.