Testimony of a North Korean prison camp survivor

Posted on July 17, 2009 

Testimony of Ms. Soon Ok Lee – North Korean prison camp survivor

I was a normal gullible North Korean citizen, loyal to Leader and Party, and believed that North Korea was a people’s paradise. I was the Director of the Government Supply Office for party cadres for 14 years when I was arrested in 1984 under the false charge of embezzlement of state property. I was subjected to severe torture during a 14 month preliminary investigation until I was forced to admit to the false charges against her. Eventually, I received a term of 13 years in prison at a kangaroo court. I had served 5 years and two months in prison when I was released in 1992 under a surprise amnesty. During the first six months in the prison, I had worked briefly at all of the factories in the prison before I was finally assigned accounting work due to my background as an accountant. My routine responsibilities included updating prisoners’ list by deleting the dead from it and adding new arrivals to it, allocation of meals and work quotas, updating work accomplished, collecting daily work reports, carrying new work instructions to all work sites, and so on.Thus, I had access to records of numbers of inmates and production plans, etc., and was privileged to daily visit all factories in the prison in both men’s and women’s sectors.

I survived her over five years of ordeal because of the opportunity to walk to all the work sites every day which other prisoners could not and because I had relatively easy work in an office as an accountant with the prison officials. I surrendered to South Korea in December 1995 with my son Dong chul Choi. I published a book, The Bright Eyes of the Tailless Beasts in Seoul in December 1996 to inform the world of these crimes against humanity by the North Korean government. With the help of a volunteer art student, I has produced the following illustrations to show the world the reality of the North Korean crimes against humanity.


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