The first type refers to the kidnapping of South Koreans during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. There are nearly 100,000 civilians who were kidnapped by North Korea and serve as skilled workers, soldiers or workers for the country’s founding.
July 1953, after the armistice, until 1975, approximately 450 South Korean fishermen were abducted by North Korea. The purpose of this manoeuver was to use them as spies or infiltrators, or to participate in propaganda operations for communism. Until the early ‘70s, the economic level was higher in North Korea than in the rival South, and so the North wanted to prove through propaganda that its ideology was superior.
In 1976 under the orders of Kim Jong-il, kidnappings took on an international dimension. In 1974 he was appointed as his father’s successor, and the following year, in 1975, he placed his faithful men in the secret service, harshly criticising the current managers, accusing them of having done nothing in espionage activities. From then on, it was he who would give guidance in this area. In 1976, he outlined his reform of intelligence services with the premise «to train staff so that they are considered locals so that they can bring foreigners back to North Korea for indoctrination.» With these new abduction guidelines, the kidnapping of fishermen ceased, and from 1977 to 1978, North Korea removed people from twelve different countries (South Korea, Japan, Macau, (China), Thailand, Lebanon, Romania, Malaysia , Singapore, Jordan, France, Holland and Italy). More recently, cases of kidnappings of Americans by North Korea have begun to surface.
From 1995 until very recently, North Korea was targetting foreigners in China helping North Korean citizens who had fled their country. The case of the American, David Sneddon, seems to be an example. The great famine that hit North Korea in 1995 caused tens of thou sands of North Koreans to flee to China. North Korea has sent personnel from its department of State Security (secret police), and with the connivance of the Chinese government is hunting fugitives. They also take the opportunity to kidnap any foreigners who support fugitives.
In Tokyo, December 2009, an international symposium was organized by the AFVA, the NARKN and a parliamentary group dedicated to the abduction issue. Kan Chol-hwan (member of a search committee for Korea) unveiled his memoire about the abduction of the Chinese by the North Korean secret police:
«The secret police have kidnapped hundreds of people from the Korean diaspora in China (defined as Chinese citizens of Korean nationality) who provide support for people fleeing North Korea. This would also include 160 Chinese. Despite the fact that China is North Korea’s strongest supporter, Kim Jon-il has not hesitated to remove more than 100 Chinese citizens. And if he needs Americans, he will not hesitate a second to do the same.»
In 1995, Ahn Sung-woon, a South Korean pastor who helped a North Korean flee to China was kidnapped by North Korean agents. In 2000 it was pastor Dong-sik Kim’s turn to suffer the same fate for assisting North Korean refugees. Also in China, at the same time and for the same reasons, a South Korean dealer in import-export was kidnapped. Pastor Ahn was forced to hold a press conference in North Korea, which showed that he was captive there. The abduction of Pastor Kim was able to be confirmed when the North Korean secret police agent who had kidnapped him was arrested by the South Korean authorities. In 2000, the AFVA and NARKN invited pastor Ahn’s wife to Tokyo. In November 2007, they went to meet with members of the U.S. government in Washington with pastor Kim’s wife, before inviting her to come to Tokyo in December of the same year.