Wednesday, March 09, 2005

North Korea's GULAG Pt. 2

Yesterday I wrote on North Korea's Camp 22 where unbelievable horrors occurred. Here is the account from the BBC.
Kwon Hyok is one of about 4,000 North Korean defectors living in Seoul, South Korea.

Most escaped because of hunger, fear, torture, imprisonment or a simple hatred of the regime.

But Kwon Hyok is not one of those. In 1999 he was a North Korean intelligence agent stationed in Beijing when he was persuaded by the South Koreans to defect.

Six years before, in 1993, Kwon Hyok says he was Head of Security at prison camp 22 in Haengyong, an isolated area near the border with Russia.
We already know a bit about this camp. We have also already seen the "Heredity Rule" where three generations are eliminated to remove the root of disloyalty to the murderer-freak Kim Jong Il. The BBC article has a map of prison camp locations. This piece has a few details that the Guardian piece does not.

On top of the Heredity Rule, there is this;
In prison, says Kwon Hyok, "there is a watchdog system in place between members of five different families. So if I were caught trying to escape, then my family and the four neighbouring families are shot to death out of collective responsibility."
Then there are the Letters of Transfer;
In Seoul I met Kim Sang-hun, a distinguished human rights activist.

He showed me documents given to him by someone else completely unrelated to Kwon Hyok. He told me the man had recently snatched them illicitly from Camp 22 before escaping.

They are headed Letter Of Transfer, marked Top Secret and dated February 2002 . They each bear the name of a male victim, his date and place of birth. The text reads: "The above person is transferred from Camp 22 for the purpose of human experimentation with liquid gas for chemical weapons."

I took one of the documents to a Korean expert in London who examined it and confirmed that there was nothing to suggest it was not genuine.

But I wanted to run a check of my own with Kwon Hyok. Without showing him the Letter of Transfer, I asked him very specifically, without prompting him in any way.

"How were the victims selected when they went for human experimentation? Was there some bureaucracy, some paperwork?"

"When we escorted them to the site we would receive a Letter of Transfer," he said.
Read the article, it includes photos of Kwon Hyok and Kim Sang-hun.

This article and the Guardian piece I quoted last post are old articles. In my next post I'll bring things up to date (Camp 22 has been closed, probably because of news of what they did there).

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