It was in August 1993 when I first entered the No. 14 political prison camp under the jurisdiction of the North Korean State Security Department. I was taken in for a crime I did not commit and for being the son of my father, who I had never even seen.
There I was treated like a beast and experienced things that you cannot even begin to imagine.
[My first day in the concentration camp] I fell to my knees [and] someone pushed my head down onto the ground. I later found out that there was a regulation in Camp No. 14 about what the inmates must do when any camp authority was present or passing by. The inmate must sit on his or her knees with head glued to the ground and turned away from where the officer is. The prisoner must remain in that position until the officer is out of sight, and only then can he/she walk, keeping ones eyes fixed in the direction opposite of where the officer had gone.
There are ten of these political prison camps, and in Camp No. 14 alone 15,000 inmates were assigned to hard labor.
Aside from the estimated 15,000, there were children as well as some British and American POW's who were captured near Jang-jin Lake in South Hamkyong Province during the Korean War.
-- Yong Kim, who escaped from a political prison camp in North Korea and after living as a refugee 1 year later arrived safely in South Korea, via China and Mongolia.