North Korea’s Vendetta

Kim Jong Il Retaliates Against Family Members of Public Accuser

FROM: The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea, A Japanese NGO

1. Six North Korean refugees
Six North Korean refugees who escaped from North Korea and were arrested in Shanghai, China were deported to North Korea. The six, who are in mortal danger, are the elder son, the second son and a niece of Mrs. Shin Jung Ae, as well as the second son’s wife and two children.

Mrs. Shin Jung Ae’s:
Elder son: Mr. Chang Gyung Chul
Date of Birth: September 22, 1969

     Second son: Mr. Chang Gyung Soo
Date of Birth: March 21, 1972

 Niece: Ms. Chang Mi Hwa
Date of Birth: January 15, 1969

     Wife of Mr. Chang Gyung Soo: Mrs. Chun Kyung Ae
Date of Birth: July 25, 1971

     The elder son of Mr. Chang Gyung Soo
Date of Birth: March 9, 1997

     The second son of Mr. Chang Gyung Soo
Date of Birth: August 31, 2002

These six people escaped from North Korea March 28, 2003 and moved to a shelter in China. It was difficult for six North Korean refugees to live together because the Chinese security police could more easily find them. They lived there for four months, but it became necessary to vacate the place by August 10.

They found it difficult, however, to find a new shelter. Meanwhile, more and more neighbors were becoming aware of them, so we had to take action by the beginning of August. Thus, we met them in Shanghai, planning to seek refuge in the Japanese school in Shanghai and to request the protection of the Japanese consulate.

However, we were surrounded by the Chinese security police who apparently had learned of our plan, and 12 people including these six North Korean refugees, two other North Korean refugees, three South Korean supporters and one Japanese supporter were all arrested. The North Korean escapees who were arrested in Shanghai were deported to North Korea.

We had been deeply concerned that our act of guiding those North Korans to a Japanese school might hasten their death, and now we learn that they face a death sentence. The North Korean government will not directly send them to the scaffold, but will instead send them to one of their infamous prison camps, where their survival is highly unlikely. This report on Mrs. Shin’s six family members is based on reliable information from Chinese citizens who frequently travel to North Korea.

Mrs. Chun Kyung Ae, the wife of Mrs. Shin’s second son, and her two children were sent back to their house, but three others are still in custody. Mrs. Shin Jung Ae’s hopes that they would be released after a certain period have been shattered.

Mrs. Shin, who has also served time in a prison camp, says that their transfer to the high-level Security Agency of North Hamgyung province from the lower-level Security Agency of Chungjin city, means they are destined for one of the more harsh prison camps, and there is little chance that they will survive. It means that the North Korean government considers those three people among the most serious offenders.

The only way to rescue her sons is to appeal to international society, encouraging human rights advocates and citizens all over the world to exert pressure on the Kim Jong Il regime to stop oppressing its citizens.

During the questioning in Shanghai I told the officers that: “North Korean escapees will be killed if they are sent to North Korea, so please do not deport them”.

However, the translator and investigator commented that I was saying stupid things and laughed at me. Apparently they hear only controlled information and really did not know the actual situation.

The Chinese government, however, cannot claim that it does not know the situation. Now these three sons are in mortal danger, and the Chinese government must be confronted with the fact that they deported these three to a country where they will be victimized. The Chinese government has an obligation to appeal to the Kim Jong Il regime not to persecute these three men.

The North Koran escapees are victims who have been deprived of their basic human rights and their right to live unmolested in North Korea. The Chinese government is not performing its duty under the international treaty, as it fails to protect victims. On the contrary, the Chinese government searches for North Korean escapees, setting a price on their heads. It arrests and deports them to North Korea. The Chinese government is responsible for the suffering of hundreds of thousands of victims. The Chinese authorities in April 2004 even shot a boy dead who had escaped from North Korea. We denounce the Chinese government which acts as an accomplice of Kim Jong Il and his crimes against humanity.

2. After being arrested in Shanghai


August 7: Twelve people were arrested near the Japanese school in Shanghai around 4 p.m..

August 8: Mr. Chang Gyung Soo’s wife was sent to Tandong by plane with her 2 sons and questioned by the Chinese security police until August 12.

August 12: They were sent to Shiniju city in North Korea in the morning, then assigned to the detention center of the Security Agency in Chungjin city where they were detained for 10 days. The children were sent beck to their home in advance.

August 21: Four Japanese and South Korean activists who tried to save those North Korean refugees were deported from China and returned to their respective countries.

August 23: Mr. Chang Gyng Soo’s wife was sent back to her home, but the Chungjin Security Police continued the questioning.

Late in September: The Security Police ended her questioning.

October 9: It was reported that Mrs. Shin Jung Ae’s sons and a niece were sent to Shiniju city in September 28 with another North Korean escapee.

October 15: We received a report that Mrs. Shin’s sons and a niece were sent under guard to the Chungjin station at noon. The eldest son and a niece looked fine, but the second son looked very ill. He was unable to walk by himself. It did appear, however, that they had not been beaten.

These 3 people were sent to a district detention center of the Security Agency in Chungjin, North Hamgyung province and questioned by the police. In late January 2004, they were sent to the provincial Security Police in Chungjin, which has more authority than the district Security Police. We had hoped that they would be released when they were in the detention center of the district Security Police.

Eventually, however, they were sent to the detention center of the provincial Security Police, and Mrs. Shin now thinks that they will not be released. It is impossible to bring food for them, and due to their critical situation, they do not receive enough food. Furthermore, if they are sent to the more harsh concentration camp, they face death. These three people have grown weak over the past five months. Mrs. Shin had been holding to a faint hope that they might be released in April following Kim Il Sung’s birthday, but no release came.

3. Mrs. Shin Jung Ae decides and takes action

Mrs. Shin is convinced, from her own experience in the prison camp, that there is no other way except to appeal to people around the world, and so she resolved to make the names of her three sons public. She first presented her appeal at the meeting in Osaka, Japan on May 10. Then she repeated her appeal at the press conference the following day, where she met several members of the Japanese Diet in Tokyo. She presented her appeal again at the press conference in Korea on June 7. Broadcast networks, including KBS and Asia Radio Press, interviewed her, and several newspapers carried her account the next day.

The people and their family members who experience the oppression of Kim Jong Il seldom appeal to the world because they fear harm. In actual fact, those people are usually deterred by the vicious hostage policy and the systematic retaliations. Nevertheless, Mrs. Shin publicly revealed the actual situation; she decided that only this action might save her three family members. She also speaks for many other North Korean refugees. Her act is an unusually brave one. We appeal to people of judgment and good will to act together so that this courageous woman will not have to stand against a despot alone.

4. The retaliation of Kim Jong Il against Mrs. Shin’s appeal

We have watched the response of Kim Jong Il against Mrs. Shin’s appeal. We regret that he has not ceased his oppression of her family. On the contrary, he has stepped up their persecution.

Kim Jong Il did not release the three people being held in custody. Instead the Security Agency picked up the second son’s wife, after she had returned home, and took her to the police station around June 10. The Security Agency assumed that she had been the source of information about the three people detained in the Security Agency jail of North Hamgyung province in Chungjin city, the information that Mrs. Shin revealed at the press conference in Seoul on June 7.

The three were sent to the National Security Agency rather than the Social Safety Agency. Furthermore, they were sent to the high-level National Security Agency of North Hamgyung province from the National Security Agency of Chungjin city. This indicates that their punishment is slated to be severe.

Mrs. Shin, who lived in North Korea for 40 years, believes that not only the four people now in custody, but also her two young grandsons will be sent to the prison camp soon. It is difficult for people to survive there. Mrs. Shin particularly worries about her two grandsons.

Kim Jong Il has been shown to retaliate against any protest of his human rights violations. These retaliations involve further brutalizing the victims while forbidding them and their family members to talk about the real situation in North Korea. These retaliations cannot be tolerated.

We urge all people and all organizations around the world to protest Kim Jong Il’s ongoing persecutions, to send messages demanding the release of innocent people, and to exert personal and official influence upon North Korea.

Profile of Mrs. Shin Jung Ae and Her Family

Mrs. Shin Jung Ae was born in Japan. She moved to her ethnic homeland, North Korea, in 1961 along with hundreds of thousands of other Korean Japanese. She married in North Korea, and her husband died in 1999. She escaped from North Korea with her daughter and a daughter’s husband in November 2001 and sought refuge in South Korea in September 2002.

Mrs. Shin Jung Ae
Address in Japan: Tuchiura city, Ibaragi prefecture
Date of birth: March 3, 1945
Departure to North Korea: 1961 (In November 1968, she      married a Korean Japanese man who had also moved to North      Korea. Her husband died in 1999)
Address in North Korea: Chungjin city, North Hamgyung      province
Escaped to China: November 17, 2001
Arrived in South Korea: September 13, 2002
Present address: a suburb of Seoul, South Korea

Now Mrs. Shin Jung Ae lives with her elder daughter and the daughter’s family near Seoul. Many of her family members still live in North Korea, so she had feared that North Korean authorities would learn of her escape from North Korea and that she was now living in South Korea. However, the North Korean authorities learned everything after the arrest and the deportation of her sons. Therefore, she decided she must appeal to international society, and made up her mind to appear in public and disclose her name.

Mrs. Shin Jung Ae escaped from North Korea in August 1999, but she returned to her home in North Korea three months later because her children were waiting for her.

However, she was arrested in Musan, questioned and investigated for six months in Chungjin city, and detained in the Yodeok prison camp for political prisoners for one year.

She was permitted to return home on April 29, 2001, but her daughter and the daughter’s husband had already escaped to China. Mrs. Shin Jung Ae again escaped from North Korea in July 2001. She arrived in China in the middle of the night, then the next morning she was arrested, along with her daughter’s husband, who had come to meet her. They were sent to Chungjin city, but thanks to her relatives, they were soon allowed to return to their home. Her daughter’s husband then escaped to China again.

Mrs. Shin Jung Ae tried to go to China because her daughter in China was about to deliver a baby. This was Mrs. Shin’s third attempt. She went to Yungil in China, but was again arrested and sent back via Onsung.

Her past record was not discovered at that time, so she gave money to the officer who destroyed her document and released her. Thus, on her fourth attempt, Mrs. Shin escaped from North Korea in November 2001 and arrived in South Korea by way of Vietnam and Cambodia.

We thank the following organization for supplying this report:

The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea

Please Contact
      Fumiaki Yamada
5-3-17 Yamamoto, Yao city, Osaka, 581-0867, Japan.
Fax. 0729-24-2584

      Kotaro Miura
7-6-6 Ohshima, Kotou-ku, Tokyo, 136-0072, Japan.