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N. Koreans win paternity suit with Seoul family court

Posted December. 02, 2010 10:26,   


North Koreans won a lawsuit Wednesday filed with a South Korean court to confirm paternity of their father, who moved to the South during the Korean War.

The Seoul Family Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs -- four siblings in North Korea identified by their surname Yoon – on confirming their father’s paternity.

They had demanded verification that a man who died in the South in 1987 after moving there during the Korean War was their biological father.

This is the first time for a South Korean court to rule in favor of North Koreans in a paternity suit. In June 2001, three siblings in the North filed a paternity suit with the family court, saying their names should be listed on the family registry of their late biological father, who moved to the South during the Korean War.

The three later withdrew their suit after reaching an out-of-court settlement with their stepbrothers on dividing their late father’s estate.

The late father ran a private clinic in the North and moved to the South with his eldest daughter only when the war broke out in 1950. He remarried in the South and had four children with his second wife.

His eldest daughter, 68, applied for a reunion with her relatives in the North in 2000 but failed to locate them. She then learned from her maternal uncle in Japan in 2005 that her four siblings were still alive in the North.

She asked an ethnic Korean missionary in the U.S. who frequently visited the North to locate her relatives there. The missionary contacted her siblings through ranking officials of the North’s State Security Department when he visited Pyongyang.

The eldest daughter received through the missionary video materials and hair and fingernail samples for DNA testing. She then filed a lawsuit to verify that “they are the genuine sons and daughters of the deceased” with the family court.

Another suit seeks part of 10 billion won (8.7 million U.S. dollars) that their father bequeathed to his family in the South.

The court said in its ruling that DNA testing conducted with fingernail and hair samples from the siblings detected that the gene types of the late father, the eldest daughter and children born to the remarried wife of their late father were identical to a considerable extent.