January 8th, 2011 Headsman
On an uncertain date in early to mid-January 2010, North Korea put to death husband and wife Jeong Dae-sung and Lee Ok-Geum for attempting to defect, along with family friend Song Gwang Cheol for assisting them.
Early that month, the People’s Republic announced the “50-day battle” against unreliable elements … like defectors.
Bad timing for Jeong and family: they escaped North Korea to China in July 2009, along with two young children and Jeong’s 63-year-old mother. Their intent was to make it to Mongolia, and there catch a flight to Seoul.
Instead, they were caught by Chinese authorities and repatriated,* and interrogated — we expect not too gently — into giving up their neighbor Song Gwang Cheol.
After the executions, surviving members of both families were hauled away to a prison camp and to internal exile.
* North Koreans in China are in a pretty unenviable position. Beijing considers them economic migrants, not refugees, and therefore repatriates them to dreadful fates in their homeland; and yet, because of the militarized border between the Koreas, anyone wanting to defect or escape basically has to go to China, and then through China — either on to Southeast Asia, or across the Gobi to Mongolia. (Mongolia “repatriates” illegal Korean migrants back to South Korea.)
This Congressional Research Service report (pdf) makes depressing reading on the subject.
Part of the Themed Set: 2010.
On this day..
- 1878: Gauchito Gil, Argentina folk saint - 2017
- 1932: Asbury Respus, North Carolina serial killer - 2016
- 1900: The private, decent, and humane execution of a human being named George Smiley - 2015
- 1690: Andrei Ilyich Bezobrazov, stolnik - 2014
- 1813: The Yorkshire Luddites, for murdering William Horsfall - 2013
- 1908: John Boyd, by John Radclive - 2012
- 1603: Not Tommaso Campanella - 2010
- 1864: Two Dodds, as two spies, in two states, and twice botched - 2009
- 1697: Thomas Aikenhead - 2008