S. Korean Missionary to File Suit against China in U.S.

A South Korean missionary who was detained in a Chinese prison for two years on charges of "abetting" North Korean defectors will fly to the United States Saturday and launch legal proceedings against his captors, according to a recent report.

On Aug. 31, 2002, South Korean national Kim Hee-tae was reportedly ambushed by Chinese officers while guiding North Koreans to Beijing. According to the U.S.-based Jubilee Campaign, Kim was transporting North Korean defectors from one location to another within China and was not taking them across the border. However, when Kim was arrested in Changchun, Jilin Province, China, Kim was charged under Criminal Code Article 318 for organising illegal border crossings.

A trial for Kim’s was held on May 15, 2003, however, the court did not issue a decision, the Jubilee Campaign reported. Since then Kim had remained in detention until his recent release.

According to the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency, Kim said he plans to file a suit against the Chinese government, seeking 100 million yuan (US$11.9 million) in compensation for the brutal treatment he was exposed to while incarcerated.

Kenneth Chan
Ecumenical Press