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My Friend Was Killed By Airborne Soldiers

Posted May. 20, 2001 08:57,   


The deceased man, who was killed and covered up by the suppressing units during the 5.18 Kwangju Democratization Movement, was identified as a man from Boseong, South Cholla, who was then in his twenties.

Kim Young-Gil (47, Seoul), who was an eye-witnessed to the killing spot, said, ``The man who was killed and buried by the airborne soldiers is my friend Park Byong-Hyon, who was on his way to his home town.``

Kim said that they were heading to their home town Boseong for rice plantation after a meal at the house of their hometown friend in Kwangju on May 23, 1980. They encountered the airborne soldiers nearby a lake behind Inseong High school in Songha-dong, Kwangju. ``On sightseeing the airborne soldiers, I ran away through drain ditches. Soon I heard sounds of gunshots from where my friend was running away.``

When Kim and Byeong-Hyon’s father went to the spot with the police, the village residents already moved Byeong-Hyon’s body to other place and his belongings and watch disappeared. He added that the residents of the village said, ``Byeong-Hyon was lying down on a hot-pepper pad which was about 100 meter away from the lake, and the soldiers said, `Raise your hand !, move ahead ! I will count three.` But when Byeong-Hyon step forward, they shot him down.`` He also said, ``The memory is still fresh as an incident of yesterday. I don’t want to meet the confessed soldier, but for the truth, I am willing to make my testimony.``

The witness’s testimony in the Presidential Truth Commission of Suspicious Deaths is coherent to the report of Yoon Keum-Sun, who saw the spot while she was working at her farm.

Ms. Yoon previously said, ``When a man was shot down by his shoulder and neck on May 22 or 23, 1980, after taking his watch and other belongings, soldiers dragged the dead body to close mountain and buried him right beside the grave of my father-in-law.``

Meanwhile, Mr. Park is to be recognized as a victim of 5.18 Kwangju Democratization Movement and will be buried at Kwangju 5.18 cemetery. And his bereaved will receive compensation for the victims.

Jung Seung-Ho shjung@donga.com