List of North Korean Refugees and Humanitarian Workers
Seized by Chinese Authorities

The following represents a list that the Defense Forum Foundation (DFF) began compiling in 2002 of the names of North Korean refugees and humanitarian workers who are known to have been seized by the Chinese authorities as a result of the People’s Republic of China’s refusal to abide by the international agreements it has signed.  There are, of course, thousands and thousands of others who have been seized and forcibly repatriated to North Korea for which the date and location is not known to us.

This list was compiled in cooperation with seven NGOs working with DFF to rescue North Korean refugees and was compiled by Suzanne Scholte of the Defense Forum Foundation and reviewed for accuracy by the Seoul-based Citizens Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, the Japan-based Life Funds for North Korean Refugees, Abraham H. Lee of Refugee Phan, and several others who need to remain anonymous.  The list has been periodically submitted to the People’s Republic of China along with letters requesting release of the individuals still in their custody and information about the whereabouts of those who have disappeared.  It has been read aloud at many protest rallies around the world including several held at the PRC embassy in Washington, D.C., the PRC embassy in Prague, the Czech Republic and the PRC embassy in Warsaw, Poland.  It has been submitted as part of testimony given by DFF to the U.S. House International Relations Committee, the U.S. Congressional Executive Commission on China and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The purposes of this list are (1) to keep pressure on the government of China, because it is responsible for the fate of everyone listed on these pages; (2) to keep the names before us always so that we will not forget their imprisonment and their suffering; and (3) to allow this list to be used by human rights organizations to help them join us in advocating for the release of all these individuals whether they are currently in Chinese or North Korean political prison camps.

The age that is listed for the refugees is their age at the time of their capture, unless otherwise noted.  Consistent with the Korean naming scheme, the surname is followed by the given name.

Seized in early November 2004 from a hospital in Dandung, China

Lee Ju-im (female, 73) – Mrs. Lee is a South Korean citizen who was abducted to North Korea during the Korea War; she had escaped North Korea and was recuperating in a hospital when she was seized by North Korea security agents.

Seized on 26 October 2004 in the Tong Chow Section of Beijing

65 North Korean refugees hiding in two shelters, including 11 children and a 70 year old man, along with the two South Korean human rights activists.  The refugees include:

It has been reported that 62 of these refugees were repatriated to North Korea on 9 November 2004.

Seized on 25 October 2004

15 North Korean refugees attempting to enter the Korean consulate office in China.

Seized on 27 September 2004

9 North Korean refugee women and children at the Shanghai American School in Shanghai, China; two children were released to South Korean officials but the other 7 women and teenagers are still being held.

Seized on 8 August 2004 in Podung, China

Jin Kyung-sook (born 24 June 1980), a North Korean defector who had established South Korean citizenship in 2002, and was forcibly seized by North Korean agents and repatriated to North Korea.

Seized sometime between 5-10 June 2004 in Nanning, China

Yun Hyang-shim (female, born January 12, 1956), who had defected from North Korea and is now a South Korean citizen.  She was caught trying to help her son-in-law escape to Vietnam, and is being held in Nanji Prison in Nanning City.

Seized on 15 February 2004 at Nanning, Guangxi Province

Kang Eun-hee (25), Park Il-man (38) and 5 other North Korean refugees were seized by Chinese authorities and sent to Ansan refugee camp in Tumen, Ji-Lin Provice on 5 March 2004.  After going on a hunger strike to try to gain their freedom and safe passage to South Korea, they were repatriated to North Korea on 12 March 2004.  They are reported to have been sent to Onsong Political Prison camp.

Seized on 23 December 2003 while trying to travel to Beijing, China

Choi Song-juk (mother of Lyu Myung-ho and Lyu Sung-ho – see 18/19 September 2001 entry).

Seized on 13 December 2003 in Guangxi with Takayuki Noguchi

Choi Yong (male, 60) and Shin Chung-mee (female, 46), who are both Japanese-born North Korean refugees whom Noguchi was trying to bring safely to the country of their birth.

Seized on 5 December 2003 in Nanning City

Chinese authorities seized 36 North Korean refugees hiding in Nanning City, Kwangzi Province.

Seized on 26 September 2003 in Guangdong Province

Kim Seung-whan (male, 54), an American businessman sentenced on 5 April 2004 to 5 years in jail, deportation and a 20,000 RMB fine for helping North Korean refugees; currently held in Tiebi Prison in Changchun, Jilin Province, China.  The following refugees that Mr. Kim was trying to help were also seized:

Seized in early September 2003 in Yunnan Province

Seized on 5 September 2003 in Guangzhou

Dr. Woo Ri-chae, a North Korean biological weapons expert, was seized while trying to enter the Australian consulate general office in Guangzhou.  Dr. Woo’s wife and children fled when he was seized.

Seized on 18 August 2003 at Pingxiang China near the Vietnam border

Seized on 7 August 2003 in Shanghai along with Fumiaki Yamada, who was later released

The two brothers and their female cousin were repatriated to North Korea and the two brothers are believed to be in the North Korean State Security Agency detention center in North Hamgyung Province.

Seized on 27 July 2003 in Beijing

These four were arrested outside a restaurant in Beijing.  On the day of their arrest, they had arrived from the city of Yanji by the Tumen-Beijing express train.

Seized on 27 July 2003 in Quingdao, China

Eight North Korean refugees including four children.

Seized on 18 January 2003 in Yantai City, Shandong Province

Choi Yong-hun (male), a South Korean humanitarian aid worker.  On 22 May 2003, sentenced to a 5-year imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 RMB.

Seized on 18 January 2003 in Yantai City, Shandong Province

With this same group these individuals were also seized but escaped again are now free in South Korea:

Seized on 13 November 2002 at the Vietnam/China border

These seventeen refugees were seized by Vietnamese border guards and turned over to Chinese authorities.  After their arrest they were held in Pingshang, Nanying City, Guangxi Province, China.

Seized on 31 October 2002 at the German School in Beijing

Seized on 30 October 2002 in Dalian

Kim Gun-nam (male)

Seized  on 2 September 2002 at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Beijing

Seized on 31 August 2002 near the Mongolian border

Yun Kim-shil (female)

Seized on 26 August 2002 at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing

These seven refugees (known as “The MoFA Seven”) attempted to apply for asylum at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs:

Seized between 24-26 May 2002 in Yunnan Province near the Laos/Burman/China borders

Six North Korean defectors, of which three names are known:

Seized on 20 May 2002 in Yanji, Jilin Province

Kim Kyung-il (male, 26, born 17 January 1976).  Mr. Kim is in Changchun Tiebi prison serving a 12-year prison term for the charge of helping North Koreans escape from China.

Seized on 10 May 2002 while attempting to reach Thailand

Seized on 9 May 2002 in Yanbian

Rev. John Daniel Choi, American citizen who had set up an orphanage to care for North Korean refugee children.  Fourteen refugees Choi was helping were seized on the say day he was arrested by Chinese authorities.  Choi was sentenced to a 7 year prison term and is in Tiebei, Changchun prison.  On 22 September 2004, Rev. Choi was released, after serving 2½ years of his harsh sentence.

Seized on 12 April 2002 in Yanji, China

These two refugees were seized along with Rev. Choi Bong-il who was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment when he was caught helping these refugees.

Seized on 6 March 2001 in Yunkil, Jilin Province, China

Jung Soon-ae (female, 46, born February 5, 1955); the mother of Gil-su; seized by Chinese police and repatriated to North Korea on 13 March 2001.  On 15 April 2001 she was taken to a prison in North Korea.  Most of her family has safely escaped to South Korea.  Gil-su specifically requested that her name be added to THE LIST because “raising her name may keep her alive.”

Seized between 29-30 December 2001 near the Mongolia border

These refugees were seized on 29 December/early 30 December trying to cross the China/Mongolia border near the border town of Dongchi in northeastern Inner Mongolia when Pastor Chun Ki-won was arrested (Pastor Chun served eight months in a Chinese prison for trying to help these refugees).  Two other refugees in the group who had U.S. relatives were allowed to go to Seoul.  After their arrest, these refugees were held at Manchu-Ri Prison in China:

Seized on 18/19 September 2001 in Yanji

These brothers are believed to be at Changchun Tiebei prison serving a 5 year prison sentence:

Seized on 11 June 2001 from shelters established by Christian NGOs in Xian, Shaanxi Province

50 North Korean defectors including the following:

During this time period, two surviving female North Korean defectors also reported that Kim Ju-bok (male, 26) was seized in Dandong and repatriated to North Korea where he was sentenced to death for leading a group of North Korea defectors.  Among his group were 6 defectors who were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and 17 defectors who were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in Yodok political prison camp

Seized on 16 September 2000 at their “safe-house” in Dalian by Chinese police

Their son, Han Sin-hyuk, was not captured and successfully defected to South Korea.

Seized on 17 January 2000 by North Korean security agents in China

Rev. Kim Dong-sik (male, 53, born 10 October 1947).  Rev. Kim is a citizen of South Korea but also has a U.S. green card.  He is believed to have been abducted to North Korea and recent testimony by a North Korean spy who was involved in his kidnapping confirms this suspicion.  His wife and children live in Chicago.

Seized on 6 August 1997 by Chinese police in Jian, Liaoning Province

Li Song-nam (51)

Seized on 4 February 1997 at the Shanghai International Airport

Kim Eun-chol (male, 35).  Kim’s parents (Kim Jae-won and his wife) live in South Korea and believe he was sent back to North Korea.

Seized on 7 July 1995 in China

Rev. Ahn Seung-woon, a citizen of South Korea, last seen in Pyongyang.

The following are individuals who were formerly on THE LIST, but happily have been taken off due to their release.

Seized on 12 April 2002 in Yanji, China

Rev. Choi Bong-il (54), humanitarian worker caught helping two North Korean refugees and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment, but released on 22 September 2004.

Seized on 31 August 2002 in Changchun in Northeast China

Kim Hee-tae, humanitarian worker seized along with eight North Korean refugees attempting to leave China.  Sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, but was released on 15 July 2004.

Seized on 13 December 2003 in Guangxi

Takayuki Noguchi (male, 32), humanitarian worker with Life Funds for North Korean Refugees seized by Chinese police along with three Japanese-born North Korean refugees: a woman in her 40s (born in Tokai Region, Japan), a man in his 50s born in West Japan, and Choi Yong, 61, who was born in Hiroshima, Japan.  Noguchi was released in August 2004 after 9 months of incarceration.

Seized on 18 January 2003 in Yantai City, Shandong Province

Kim Song-man (Chinese version, “Jin CHENGWAN”), ethnic Korean Chinese national sentenced to 1 year imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 RMB.  Kim served his sentence and is now free.

Seized from his hotel room on November 2002

Hiroshi Kato, humanitarian worker with Life Funds for North Korea Refugees and a citizen of Japan, was seized at his hotel in China for helping North Korean refugees and held in prison for a week in November 2002.

Seized on 7 August 2003 in Shanghai

Fumiaki Yamada, humanitarian worker with Society to Help Returnees to North Korea and a citizen of Japan, was seized with North Korean refugees he was trying to help.

Seized between 29-30 December 2001 near the Mongolia border

Pastor Chun Ki-won, a South Korean human rights activist, was held from December 2001 until August 2002 (220 days in jail) for trying to help a group of North Korean defectors reach Mongolia.

Seized 27 July 2003

Rev. Park Young-hwa, an American citizen, was held for 1½ years for helping North Korea Refugees.  He was seized on 27 July 2003, officially arrested on 8 September 2004, and released in late October 2004.