[KS] The late Shin Sang-ok, and other mysteries

Afostercarter at aol.com Afostercarter at aol.com
Wed May 3 09:09:09 EDT 2006

Dear colleagues,

The death of the film director Shin Sang-ok has attracted 
quite wide notice; e.g. an obituary in The Economist: 

It also reignites some nagging questions:

1. Was his and Choi Eun-hee's memoir of their North Korean sojourn
ever published in English? If not, why not?

An agent sent me a copy of the manuscript in 2003. It was dated 1987,
which already makes one wonder why it had not come out much sooner.
I believe it was long ago published in Korean and Japanese?

2. (How to put this delicately; de mortuis...) Is there any consensus 
on whether either or both of them were indeed kidnapped to Pyongyang,
wholly involuntarily, as they afterwards insisted? I have heard rumours
that there may have been more to it - or is that just cynicism?

3. Similarly, in dissident circles in the ROK one used to hear claims
that the 1983 Rangoon bomb, and/or the 1987 downing of KAL 858, were
pepetrated not by North Korea but by either the KCIA or persons unknown.

Given that in each case one of the DPRK agent perpetrators was caught and
confessed, can such doubts safely be dismissed as 'progressive' paranoia?
Case closed? - or do any genuine questions remain about either incident?

(I recall, but cannot now trace, a website in English about KAL858 which 
did ask what seemed some quite cogent questions about the matter;
notwithstanding  the full and lucrative confessions of the "virgin bomber",
Ms Kim Hyon-hui.)

4. Finally, what of the mysterious bomb which killed five people at Kimpo
in September 1986?  A US government website blames NK for this one too:
However, if I recall aright, the ROK never pointed the finger at Pyongyang
over that incident. Whodunit, then?

Can any sleuths on the list close the file on these cases?


Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University 

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