[Editorial] The Park Chung Hee Regime's Contract Murder

Posted on : 2005-02-19 07:34 KST Modified on : 2005-02-19 07:34 KST

The outlines of what happened with the disappearance of Kim Hyung Wook, former head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), are becoming clear some 26 years after the fact. It turns out it is highly likely the Park Chung Hee regime hired members of an organized crime ring to kill Kim while he was overseas. It is hard to conceal your shock to learn that the state was behind a crime that made it much like the mafia.

Among the kidnappings and murders that took place during the Park regime, including the killing of Jeong In Suk and the kidnapping of Kim Dae Jung, it has been the disappearance of KCIA chief Kim Hyung Wook in 1979 that remained a mystery and led to all sorts of speculation. At this point the truth behind the case should be revealed fully so as to take the opportunity to strengthen democracy and human rights.

Kim was someone who was fanatically faithful to then president Park Chung Hee during his six years and three months as head of the KCIA. When he grew distant from power much like a man falls from a cliff and eventually took aim at the regime, the regime first tried to win him over and to threaten him, but eventually had him killed. When Kim went to the United States and started disclosing details about the regime's corruption and wrote his memoirs, the Park regime bought the manuscript for US$500,000. When he failed to stay quiet they lured him to Paris and had him murdered by gangsters there who were paid after a Korean operative verified the body. Your mouth drops open in shock to hear that having learned from the failure of the Kim Dae Jung kidnapping, they hired a gang instead of having intelligence agents do the work themselves.

The case shows you the ugly, naked truth about a dictatorship that used a large sum of public funds try to quiet someone disclosing its irregularities and that eventually went as far as murder to quiet him forever. The country and the people took a backseat for an intelligence agency that was a faithful servant of the man with absolute power. It is confirmation that absolute power absolutely corrupts.

They say the eight individuals involved in the Kim case are alive today. The seriousness of the crimes of kidnapping and murder is great, so speaking up will not be easy for them. The only way for them to come out of the darkness would be to stand on the side of truth and the deceased, and to reveal that truth and seek forgiveness.

The Hankyoreh, 19 February 2005.

[Translations by Seoul Selection (PMS)]

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