- Jung was sent to a political prison camp near Mengsan without trial or jury
- The camp probably refers to the Yoduk
- There’s almost no possibility of him surviving
An octogenarian South Korean POW has been sent to a North Korean prison camp after he was caught attempting to escape the country and return to his homeland more than 55 years after being captured during the Korean War.
Lee Yeon-soon, the president of ‘6.25 Family Union of Korean POWs Detained in North Korea’ told ORNK, “Mr. Jung, a Korean war prisoner repatriated to North Korea by China, has been sent to a prison camp around Maengsan in South Pyongan Province.”
“The Public Security Bureau (PSB) in China learned from a member of the North Korea National Security Agency who visited China to repatriate North Korean refugees that Mr. Jung had been sent directly to a prison camp as soon as he was repatriated,” Lee explained.
According to an expert on North Korean prison camps, “prison camp around Mengsan” probably refers to the infamous Yoduk. Therefore, Mr. Jung is likely to have been imprisoned there.
Mr. Jung was taken prisoner in 1952 while fighting as an infantryman in the 3rd division of the ROK Army. Then, last September he escaped to China in order to finally return to South Korea, but was arrested and detained after a tip-off from a broker who had argued with Mr. Jung about the cost of his escape.
Thereafter, the South Korean government made approximately 50 requests for cooperation to the Chinese authorities. However, they were ignored and Jung was handed over to the NSA on February 19th.
Usually when North Korean defectors are arrested in China and sent to North Korea, the local area NSA decides how to deal with them. When their crimes are considered major, such as escaping for the purpose of passage to South Korea, they are sent to prison camps, whereas if they are found to have gone to China simply to try and make a living, they are sent to labor reeducation camps. In Mr. Jung’s case, he was sent directly to a prison camp without delay.
The NSA agent who arrested Mr. Jung apparently told the PSB, “There was a superior authority commanding us to send him directly to a prison camp. Money doesn’t matter. There’s no way to get him out of the prison camp. It’s better to just assume that he’s dead.”
Lee agrees that he has little chance of surviving. “I hear that Mr. Jung is already more than 80; he was carried out on the broker’s back when he escaped because he couldn’t walk for that long. There’s almost no possibility of him enduring the harsh conditions in the prison camp. It’s likely that he has already died from the stress of being sent to a prison camp.”