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A Statement about the Case of Missing Kim Hyeong-wook

Posted February. 04, 2005 22:52,   


Among the seven examination-required cases selected by the National Intelligence Service’s Past Injustices Investigation Committee (headed by Reverend Oh Chung-il) on February 3, the disappearance of the former chief of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Hyeong-wook, is rising as a critical issue.

If discovered, the fact that there is some probability that there was an abduction and murder of the nation’s intelligence agency’s unofficial agent and that the murder took place in a foreign country (Paris, France) holds an enormous amount of influencing power in politics.

Furthermore, the people who are thought to be responsible for the abduction are a former director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Jae-kyu, and a former head of the Presidential Security Service, Park Jong-kyu, who were all close to the former president, Park Jung-hee. Accordingly, whether the former President ordered the kidnapping is to be the core issue.

If former President Park is found out to have directly ordered to abduct or to murder Kim Hyeong-wook, it could deal a fatal blow to the former president’s daughter and the current leader of the Grand National Party, Park Geun-hye, who took over her father’s debts and assets.

However, there are inconsistencies among the concerned people regarding the incident, as to whether former President Park directly indicated the abduction or whether or not the government was in fact involved in the abduction and murder.

A former head of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency, Lee Jong-chan said on February 4 in a phone interview with a reporter of Donga Ilbo that he would have to read the involved documents.

As a director of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency at the time, he stated his own opinion by saying, “Kim Hyeong-wook might have been killed by a gang.” When asked about the basis of his guess, he strongly suggested the probability of the former head of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in the abduction, saying, “Park Jong-kyu was very unpredictable.”

Lee’s statement is in the same vein as the former deputy general manager of the overseas business of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Yoon Il-gu’s view. At an interview in 1998, Yoon Il-gu denied the foreign department of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in the kidnapping, adding, “For Kim Hyeong-wook, I neither ordered nor received orders, either from the government or from the agency.”

Yoon stated that in order to do overseas work, the intelligence agency must get assistance from the officer in a foreign country, the information on overseas business could only be ordered by him, but he never ordered such information.

These statements mark that the presidential truth committee is unable to get new information or decisive evidence, if it continues to only investigate the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

Moreover, the Ansan mayor in the Gyeonggi province, Song Jin-sub, and a former ambassador to Iran, Lee Sang-ryul, who are presumed to have heard the inside story or might know the condition of the missing Kim Hyeong-wook, keep silence on the matter.

Mayor Song is said to have heard that the Presidential Security Service officials murdered Kim Hyeong-wook while talking to former chief secretary of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (sentenced to death) in his cell at Seodaemun prison in 1979.

Lee, a former ambassador to Iran, is known to be one of the people closest to the actual story, due to his work as a diplomatic minister under the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com