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Australian newspaper sheds light on Hyungje center case

Posted September. 06, 2022 08:08,   

Updated September. 06, 2022 08:08


The Australian ran an article on Korea's Hyungje Welfare Center case, reporting that the family of Park In-geun, head of the center (photo) owns a golf practice range and sports center worth around 14 billion won in Sydney. The case is a well-known human rights violation incident of which the government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission acknowledged responsibility of last month in 35 years.

The Australian published an article titled "Real-life Squid Game horror spills over into Australia" on the first and fourth page on Monday (local time). The newspaper had likened the incident to the popular Netflix series ‘Squid Game.’ The Australian reported that Park's family, who live in Australia, owns a golf range and sports complex worth 150 million Australian dollars (around 14 billion won). The family refuses to return to Korea to go under investigation on the sources of assets.

Park had been prosecuted for capturing around 3,000 orphans and homeless people from 1975 to 1987 and forcing them into labor. He immigrated to Australia after he was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 1989. According to the Australian, Park ran a church in Australia, invested 1.9 million Australian dollars (around 1.8 billion won) in 1995 to acquire a golf range and sports center located west of Sydney. The sports facility, which houses a gym, tennis and squash courts, is reported to be around 80,000 m².

The facilities are reportedly owned by Park's youngest daughter and her husband after Park's death in June 2016. As of 2020, the sports center generates around 400,000 Australian dollars (some 370 million won) in rent. The newspaper said that the victims, who have filed claim against the government for compensation, are planning to file claims against Park's family.

"The detainees of the Hyungje Welfare Center were beaten up and hung upside down for several hours, suffering from severe abuse. The supervisors of this facility considered violence like a game," reported the newspaper. Their situation was similar to the drama Squid Game, where homeless or unfortunate people were kidnapped from the streets and risk their lives to win the competition.

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which has been investigating the case, officially announced that the Hyungje Welfare incident was a human rights violation case caused by the state's unjust public authority. This statement acknowledges the government's connivance of the human rights violation. The total number of deaths reached 657 as 105 victims who died from forced labor or beatings were additionally revealed.