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Catching Up With People at Pres. Park`s Assassination

Posted October. 26, 2009 06:44,   


The Dong-A Ilbo has caught up with people who were at the Seoul bar where President Park Chung-hee was assassinated on the night of Oct. 26, 1979.

Former presidential chief of staff Kim Kye-won, who was with Park that fateful night, is living in seclusion. He was given the death sentence after being convicted of murder and insurrection but the punishment was commuted to life in prison by the Supreme Court.

Kim was released from prison in 1982 after his sentence was suspended. Now 86, he underwent surgery for stomach cancer in 2004 and lives with his family in Seoul’s Apgujeong district, taking care of his health and serving God.

In his first media interview in 2006 since the assassination, he said, “The military government under Chun Doo-hwan sought to unilaterally portray a simple murder case as rebellion.”

Singer Shim Soo-bong, 50, and a college junior majoring in theater at Hanyang University in Seoul named “Shin,” 49, both kept a low profile for a while. They published memoirs in 1994 on their thoughts on the assassination.

Shim continued her singing career and held a concert marking her 30th anniversary in showbiz early this year.

Shin, who had worked as a model in commercials, immigrated to the U.S. soon after the assassination, married, returned to Korea, and is now a homemaker.

Park Sang-beom, 66, then President Park’s bodyguard, survived despite suffering four gunshot wounds in the incident. He served as secretary general of the National Unification Advisory Council under the Roh Tae-woo administration and presidential security chief and veterans’ affairs minister under President Kim Young-sam before retiring in 1998.

Park Sang-beom told The Dong-A Ilbo said yesterday, “I forgot the incident and am living a normal life.”

On rumors that he survived the shooting because assassin Kim Jae-kyu’s staff did not make sure he was dead due to his friendly nature, Park Sang-beom smiled in saying “I heard such rumors later on.”

Song Sang-cheol, an Army doctor and chief of the orthopedics department at the Seoul armed forces hospital near Gyeongbok Palace, saved Park Sang-beom’s life on the night of the assassination after hours of surgery.

Song is now head of Seoul National University Hospital.

Kim Yeong-seon, 80, who was chief judge of the military court on Dec. 4, 1979, retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1980. He then served as deputy chief of national intelligence and was a lawmaker in the 11th, 12th, and 13th National Assemblies.