Tag Archives: South Korea

Kato, participates in “Ask Me Anything” session

Here’s some background information that may give you a richer understanding of the NK refugees.

Reddit

Last year our Executive Director, Hiroshi Kato, participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit. It was his first-ever AMA and he was really impressed with the quality of the questions he received, which ranged from defectors’ life skills to misconceptions about North Korea. We have included the questions and answers he received, edited slightly for readability.

We hope you enjoy reading it, and feel free to add your own questions and comments on Facebook or Twitter!

Reader Donations Help Rescue 2 Women

UPDATE – July 11th:

The two North Korean women who were waiting for us to escort them to safety were successfully conducted to a safe zone and, once all official processing is completed, will be resettled in South Korea.

2nd UPDATE – August 30th:

The two North Korean women have now safely reached South Korea and are settling in to their new life of freedom.

China’s Yanbian Province Changing

Winter scene in Yanbian

LFNKR Staff Member Visits Yanbian, China

For the first time in more than ten years, I visited China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Recently, China has undergone remarkable economic development, and its impact has reached even China’s northeastern region of Yanbian. From my previous visit, I recall low-rise buildings scattered about and old Soviet-made cars on dilapidated roads.

SK President’s Policies Ignore Refugees

Nothing New from Lee Myung-bak

South Korea’s pro-North stance, including its Sunshine Policy and its Engagement Policy implemented by the regimes of Kim Dae-jung and Roh-Moo-hyun, has caused untold suffering for the North Korean people and North Korean defectors due to rampant human rights violations. 

Part 2 of Kim Chun Gun’s Story

His Dream – to Own a Yakitori Restaurant

Kim Chun Gun had only 1 month left until his visa expired when he decided to contact Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) – basically his last hope. When contacting us, Chun Gun mentioned that a Mr. Shin, the president of a Korean company, had suggested he get in touch with LFNKR.  He, however, knew President Shin only indirectly and had never actually met him.  He was told that President Shin, a humanitarian aid worker, had helped Chun Gun’s mother, who had already resettled in South Korea.  Still, Chun Gun was uncertain whether mentioning Shin’s name would even work.

Former Foster Child Visits Benefactor’s Grave in Japan

A Walk in the Shinobuyama Snow

On January 12, 2009, our group, LFNKR held an event to celebrate receiving this year’s Tokyo Bar Association Human Rights Prize. One of our former foster children, Song Hyuk (not his real name), flew from South Korea to attend the event with his girlfriend (also a North Korean defector) and Mr. Kim Sang Hun, a human rights activist.

Movie ‘Crossing’ Wins High Praise

"Crossing" - the Movie

It also Raises Valid Questions

Based on a true story, the Korean movie “Crossing” took four years to complete. Until the movie was publicly announced in March this year, the entire project was kept under tight security, including all filming done in South Korea, China, and Mongolia. “Crossing” focuses on the reality of life in North Korea and the flood of defectors leaving the country. The secrecy was necessary because there were fears that pro-North Korean elements in South Korea might sabotage the project.

Japan’s 2nd Annual NK Human Rights Public Awareness Week

Special Report on Events in Japan

The second annual North Korean Human Rights Public Awareness Week took place during Dec. 10th through 16th, 2007, as set forth in Japan’s “North Korean Human Rights Act,” which was enacted in June 2006. The many events held included government-hosted events, as well as international conferences and symposiums. 

Human Trafficking Victim – Lee Sun Ja

Name:                 Lee Sun Ja
(Female, Name changed for safety)
Date of Birth:  1981
Hometown:      Hamgyong Bukto, North Korea

When I was three years old, my parents suddenly disappeared. Nobody knows if they died or if they were sent into a concentration camp for political prisoners. My step-parents treated me worse than a beast. I was hardly fed daily, so I grew up as a beggar. Since I remained a Kot-jebi (street child) until I escaped into China, I never had a chance to go to a school. In North Korea, while I was living the Kot-jebi life, I begged but I also broke into houses to steal from time to time.

Two Former NK Refugees Now Happily Wed

By Midori Yotsuya, LFNKR Member

It was Aug. 30, just after the 4th General Meeting in Seoul of IPCNKR (International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights). We headed to a small hotel to meet some of the foster children that LFNKR had formerly supported under our education sponsorship plan. They had all lived together like a family for several years at the same LFNKR shelter in China after fleeing from North Korea. Some of them are now young adults in their early twenties.

IPCNKR 4th Annual Conference to Be Held in Seoul

The International Parliamentarians’ Coalition
for North Korean Refugees’ Human Rights
(IPCNKR)

Organized by the International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for
North Korean Refugees’ Human Rights

The 4th General Meeting of IPCNKR will be held in Seoul, Korea from August 28 (Tuesday) to August 30 (Thursday). 

Letter of Appeal to Prime Minister of Thailand

Protest of Extreme Overcrowded Conditions
Letter from LFNKR to the Prime Minister of Thailand.


26 April, 2007

Dear General Surayud Chulanont:

We, at Life Funds for North Korean Refugees(LFNKR), wish to convey our profoundest gratitude and respect to the people and Government of Thailand for humanitarian assistance extended to the North Korean defectors in Thailand in past years.

CNN Looks Inside a North Korean Escape Route

In exclusive footage aired April 15, 2007, CNN’s Dan Rivers gave viewers a look inside an ‘underground railroad’ used by North Koreans hoping to escape to South Korea.
This link takes you to a CNN video.

Former NK Orphan Sends Thanks Email in English

Hungry to Learn

LFNKR members were excited to receive a series of emails in English from one of our former foster children, a North Korean orphan whom we sheltered in China, then helped escape to safety in South Korea. The young man, Chol Song Kim, was born 5 Feb. 1985. Although Chol Song received the bare minimum of education during his years of hiding, now that he is safe in South Korea, he is eagerly making up for lost time. He recently went to Australia for a short, intensive English course.

Choi Yong-hun Home from Chinese Prison

Friends greet Choi at airport

Friends greet Choi at airport

Following 3 years and 10 months of Chinese “hospitality”, Choi Yong-hun is back home in South Korea, reunited with his family.

NEWS FLASH: Choi Yong-hun Released Today

Jailed in China for 3 years, 10 months

BREAKING NEWS: Choi Yong-hun, the South Korean humanitarian aid worker imprisoned by China for nearly 4 years left prison today and flew back home to South Korea. Choi was met at Incheon Airport this evening by close family members. And although he appears extremely weak following his imprisonment, he took the time to express his thanks to all those around the world who have supported him with their prayers, letters and other contributions.

Suji’s Letter to Her Father

Choi Yong-hun with his two daughters

From the Daughter of a Jailed Humanitarian

Hi, I am Suji, the eldest daughter of Choi Yong-hun.

On the first of November 2002, our family of four moved to China, where my younger sister and I began settling in to our new life there. We started school in January 2003. But just two months after our move to China, our father was arrested by the Chinese police for attempting to help some North Korean refugees. I had trouble believing he had been arrested since the media were reporting that he had been helping a group of refugees from North Korea.

175 NK Refugees in Thai Custody

You Can Help – Mail a Letter

The Thai government is negotiating with the United Nations and the South Korean government after Thai police followed a tip and found 175 North Koreans at a house in Bangkok. Following a tip-off by the neighbors, the Thai police raided a house on August 22, 2006, where they found 128 women, 37 men and 10 children, all North Koreans. The refugees were being sheltered while seeking asylum in other countries, including South Korea. 

Interview with NK Border Shelter Staff Members

Human Trafficking and Starvation

Recently an LFNKR staff member visited some of the shelters in China being run clandestinely by this NGO. The following interview with a few local staffers working at one of the shelters brings us information about the recent food situation in North Korea and the victims of human trafficking.

In the interview, “LFNKR” indicates one of our people dispatched from Japan who interviewed “Local staffers,” who are the people actually caring for North Korean refugees and orphans living in our shelters in China.

Former Foster Children Tell How They Became Orphans

Grace Yoon, whose father was arrested by the Chinese authorities on May 9, 2005 while attempting to help North Korean refugees, addressed the group.

Photos of the 3-Day Conference

Grace Yoon, whose father was arrested by the Chinese authorities on May 9, 2005 while attempting to help North Korean refugees, addressed the group.

NK Refugees Being Overlooked

Refugees Overshadowed by 6-Party Talks

The Six-Party talks in Beijing to discuss the elimination of nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula are dangerously close to overshadowing the struggles of five North Korean refugees, whose stories are being dwarfed and in danger of being forgotten. On July 27th, LFNKR received information regarding five North Koreans now seeking to be declared refugees. 

North Korean Holocaust Exhibition in Seoul

Seoul, Korea

The “North Korean Holocaust Exhibition” was held from November 8 – 10, 2004, at the National Assembly Members Building in Yeoido, Seoul, Korea. This event, the equivalent of an exhibition in the US Capitol, marked the formal launch of this powerful and dramatic depiction of the suffering of the North Korean people.

NGOs, Lawmakers Receive Update on LFNKR Activities

China Claims 62 NK Defectors Not Repatriated Yet 

Beijing officials are denying media reports that they repatriated 62 North Korean defectors. South Korea’s Joong Ang Daily stated on Nov. 12 that China is denying earlier news reports of returning the 62 to North Korea. Authorities in Beijing are reportedly claiming that the defectors are still undergoing processing prior to repatriation at a detention center near the border with North Korea. 

Lawmakers Protest Aid Worker Imprisonment

To Chinese Ambassador

Below is the text of a post card mailed by many Grand National Party members of the National Assembly, South Korea. The card was addressed to the Chinese Ambassador stationed in South Korea.

Noguchi May Face Hurry-Up Trial in China

STATEMENT

The trial of Takayuki Noguchi, the Japanese aid worker arrested by China last December, will take place in early May, reports Yomiuri Shimbun, the leading Japanese newspaper, in a 2 May article by Hong Kong based reporter Yasuharu Seki.

Noguchi, who was working for our organization, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), was arrested late last year for attempting to help two Japanese-born North Korean refugees escape from China (more details here).  

NK Refugee Killed by Chinese Border Guard

Chinese border guard on horseback fired on unarmed NK refugees

Reports have reached our organization that a 20-year-old North Korean defector was shot and killed on 2 April when a group of 24 defectors were stopped while attempting to cross the border from China into Mongolia.

Six members of the group, all men, succeeded in reaching Mongolia. The 17 defectors arrested include a 2-year-old child and a woman six months pregnant. The defectors have begun a hunger strike, insisting on relocation to a third country.