Korean Friendship Association Ireland

Three Months Since the Abduction of Twelve DPRK citizens

Twelve workers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was abducted by south Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) in April of this year, and they are still being kept in solitary confinement in a detention center for defectors from the DPRK. The youngest of the twelve, Kyungah Suh, is confirmed dead from hunger striking, a hunger strike that was a protest with the demand of being released and allowed to leave south Korea. South Korea claims that it is a matter of “mass defection”, but there is no evidence that the south Korean authorities can provide to back up that claim. They were abducted while working in a Korean restaurant in China when the manager along with covert NIS-agents entered the restaurant, advising their staff that they were going to another restaurant. Around twenty staff was employed in the restaurant, and the head waitress, Choe Hye Yong, was told prior to the department by the manager that they were in fact going to south Korea, and not to another restaurant somewhere in Southeast Asia, as they were previously told. By the time Choe Hye Yong found out about it, she only had time to warn a handful of the waitresses as the car was already waiting for them by then to take them to the airport. Worth noting is that the manager had previously been called back to the DPRK as he had stolen 1.2 million Chinese Yuan (€162,000), which was reported by the Chinese owner of the restaurant.

There are several motives from the south Korea side behind this mass abduction. The president of south Korea, Park Geun Hye, who is the current favourite among NIS needed to boast her popularity. After banning the Unified Progressive Party in December 2014 as well as a teachers union who had 77,000 members (among other violations against the people of south Korea), the authoritarian nature of the south Korean regime appeared and it became clear to more and more people that no one is safe from the fascist authorities. The abduction took place a few days prior to the election for the “National Assembly”. Lawyers and social organisations in south Korea are among those that has been denied to meet with the abducted DPRK-citizens. The government of the DPRK have requested to have representatives of the DPRK and the families of the abductees to meet with them in south Korea, but that request was also denied by the south Korean authorities.

This is not the first time that south Korea have abducted DPRK-citizens, and they will most likely do it again in order to fulfill their political agenda. Other governments have been involved in abductions of foreign citizens (example: Turkey, Israel, United States, among other imperialists and neocolonial states), but they would usually do it under the pretext of “War on Terror” etc. What makes south Korea unique is that they are not even interested in making up a fake story, but they are just kidnapping foreign citizens at the convenience of their own political goals. This is a gross violation of the human rights that is clearly stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. South Korean authorities haven’t provided any answers to the public, but there are a lot of questions. The waitresses have now been held against their will for three months, without any contact with the outside world. One of them is confirmed dead, and the south Korean authorities denies anybody the knowledge of their situation and health.

According to some reports, the United Nations are preparing an investigation into this case and will send representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to Pyongyang to interview family members of the abductees by the end of this month.

All members of the Korean Friendship Association are concerned for the twelve abductees, especially their well-being since Kyungah Suh died by the hands of the south Korean authorities. We stand in solidarity with the government of the DPRK and their efforts to rescue the twelve. Their families are going through the hardest possible time though. You can just imagine what it would be like to have your child or someone close to you kidnapped, and you don’t have any knowledge of their situation: if they are dead or alive or if you will even see them again.