Friday, June 20, 2008

Missionary lost to North Korea

Kim Dong-shik, a U.S. permanent resident and Christian missionary was abducted in 2000 by North Korean agents in northeastern China and taken to North Korea for interrogation and imprisonment, according to testimony in South Korean courts.

The State Department has all but ignored the pleas of lawmakers and Kim's wife for greater attention to the case.

Kim, a South Korean who had trained as a missionary in the United States, was 53 years old at the time of his abduction and is now believed to be dead, according to his wife, Young-hwa "Esther" Chung Kim, who lives in Skokie, Ill. She said she received reports a year ago that her husband's health had deteriorated quickly as his weight dropped from 180 pounds to 75 pounds within a year of being taken to North Korea.

"He was given no food, only water," she said, adding that she was told his corpse remains in a restricted area controlled by the North Korean army.

In 2005, a South Korean court convicted an ethnic Korean man from China of helping North Korean agents kidnap Kim from Yanji, China. The trial revealed that an abduction team spent 10 months plotting the seizure, grabbing Kim in front of a restaurant when he got into a taxi. The taxi took him to another car, which brought him to the border.

[Washington Post]

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