I was born in North Korea in August 1945. My
grandfather was a landlord (in reality he bought farm land in
1944 and never got to harvest it until Korea was liberated from
the Japanese at the end of World War II).
My father was a teacher but became a worker
because of my grandfather's record of owning farm land.
My grandfather died under torture by the North
During the Korean war, 1950-1953, my father
defected to South Korea.
I was a bright boy who did well in school. Nevertheless,
I was always discriminated against because of my grandfather's
record as a landlord and my father's defection to South Korea.
I was forced to move to another town to avoid the severe social
I managed to enter an arts high school because
I excelled at dancing but they soon found out about my family
background and I was expelled from the school. After two years
without any education, I managed to enter an electrical engineering
high school as an outstanding soccer player between 1964-1966.
Then, I became a member of the chemical factory's athletic
team until 1980 when the deteriorating North Korean economy was
no longer able to maintain athletics.
When the soccer team was disbanded, I became
an electrician at the same factory. During the many years I worked
as an electrician in the factory, I was fortunate to narrowly
escape being banished twice because I was such a good soccer player
and all the factory workers admired my performance.
Nevertheless, we were always under police surveillance
and my mother was so distressed, she died at the age
of 47. Her last words to me were that I had to find my father
in South Korea and be a good son to him.
In 1984, an unknown person scribbled anti-government
slogans on the wall of a local middle school and I was arrested
and severely tortured by the State Security Agency (SSA). In hindsight,
I believe I survived the torture that broke my back because of
my physical strength. Since then I have suffered from a bent back.
After my release, I worked hard as an electrician
at the same factory and in 1988 I was promoted to a position of
senior electrician. Kim Jong-Il even granted me general amnesty
that same year, leading to my status as the Workers' Party member.
In 1989, I was promoted as the Chief Electrician of the factory.
I hoped that by working hard I could open a
new path for my children. Thus, I felt bitterly betrayed when
the government refused to accept my children for higher education.
On 15 April 1990, there was a huge fire in the
factory, which was attributed to poor electrical wiring. I proved
my innocence, but they needed a scapegoat, and on 19 April 1990,
I was arrested again and terribly tortured.
On one occasion, they hung me upside down from
the ceiling to be beaten when the rope broke and I fell to the
floor. At the impact, I fainted, and when I woke up a few hours
later, I found my neck broken. Thus, my neck received permanent
I was released after 27 days when they found
out that it was 2 North Korean soldiers who caused the fire. Nobody
apologized and before my release, I had to sign a statement saying
I would reveal nothing about how I was treated.
My son, Song-kuk, has since been missing and
we believed he died somewhere. In March 2001, I heard from him
that he had defected to South Korea.
My son's encouragement and the fear of another
bout of torture made me run away from North Korea. I arrived in
China on 23 August 2003, using a large amount of money that my
son fortunately provided.
I have information about the production of weapons
and operation systems of the chemical factory I had worked at
for decades, as well as some tragic political incidents of North