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New Records Found on Executed Patriot Ahn Jung-geun

Posted March. 23, 2010 02:58,   


“Since nine Koreans imprisoned on charges of assassination in Harbin (China) should be strictly isolated, each has been put in solitary confinement. The consequent lack of space in the remaining cells has resulted in the exceeding of the maximum number of prisoners in other cells. Due to the gravity of the case and its characteristics, stringent selection of guards and stronger vigilance are needed (circumstantial report on the period between October and December 1909).”

“Given the gravity of the case, a stronger watch was needed for several prisoners, including murder suspect Ahn Jung-geun. Considering their scheduled appearance in court for consecutive days between Feb. 7 and 14, an escort carriage has been arranged to strengthen watch over the prisoners while traveling back and forth from the court lest any contingencies occur. Much effort has also been put into security inspection within the court (circumstantial report on the period between January and March 1910).”

An old Japanese document has been discovered that mentions strengthened watch over Lushun Prison, where Korean independence activist and patriot Ahn (photo) was detained after assassinating Japanese statesman Hirobumi Ito, the Patriots and Veterans Affairs Ministry said yesterday.

Critics say the tightened vigilance of Japanese colonial rulers was intended to prevent Koreans from seizing Ahn’s remains for fear that the burial ground could become the center of an anti-Japanese movement.

The ministry said it secured the execution report on Ahn by the Japanese colonial authority, circumstantial and miscellaneous reports (books 1-15), and a list of evidence against him. Such records were reportedly stored in the historical archives of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The Patriots and Veterans Affairs Ministry discovered the items last month under a Japanese law of disclosing historical records and brought copies of them to Korea.

The original copy of the execution report said Ahn was sentenced to death on Feb. 14, 1910, and that the original date of his hanging was March 24. The execution occurred two days after the order, however.

Ahn’s address was recorded as “Jinnampo, Pyongan Province, Korea.” Other information such as his occupation (“unemployed”), name (“Ahn Eung-chil”), age (“33”), crime (“murder”), sentence (“death”) and day of sentencing (“Feb. 14, 1910”) was also specified. Eung-chil was Ahn’s childhood nickname.

The list of evidence against him included a copy of Wondongbo, a newspaper written in Chinese characters and published by Russia, and a train schedule indicating his assassination plan, and his bag.

His siblings’ request to have his remains returned to his family was rejected, and the original copy of the official rejection letter was also secured.

The report “Disobedient Koreans of the Shanghai provisional government in Manchuria” written on March 23, 1922, said Kim Ku, then head of police affairs for the Korean government-in-exile, ordered his men in Manchuria and Siberia to spy on Japanese authorities and kill Koreans who were pro-Japanese.

Patriots and Veterans Affairs Minister Kim Yang demanded more active cooperation from Japan, saying, “We’ve still not secured records on where his remains were buried, but we believe the historical archives of Japan’s Foreign Ministry has other information and photos about Ahn that have not yet been revealed.”