To grasp the courage of those who dare to act [on behalf of North Korean refugees], we went to meet Phillip Buck, a frail Korean-American pastor of 68, who helped to smuggle more than 1,000 people out of China.
His luck ran out on May 6, 2005, when he was caught by six Chinese plainclothes men as he left a rendezvous with clergy from America at a restaurant in Yanji.
“They had three notebooks full of stuff on me, they’d traced all the cellphone numbers, they told me they’d been after me for five years,” he said. “I guess somebody had talked.”
He survived 457 days in a cell with murderers and drug dealers, enduring repeated interrogations until 4am, eating cornmeal and washing in cold water.
Only Buck’s American passport and 13 visits by diplomats from the US consulate in Shenyang saved him.
Eventually the Chinese abandoned a shambolic attempt to prosecute him for “people smuggling” and he was put on a plane to Los Angeles on August 21 this year.
[Excerpt of an article by Michael Sheridan, Sunday Times]
Reference to Pastor Buck in Congressional Testimony