10 Horrifying Tales From Inside North Korea
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10 Horrifying Tales From Inside North Korea

10 Horrifying Tales From Inside North Korea 10. SHIN DONG-HYUK Shin Dong Hyuk is believed to be the only
person born into a North Korean prison camp to ever have escaped. He spent 23 years in North Korea’s most
notorious and largest concentration camp, commonly known as Camp 14, where he describes
how as a prisoner he was brainwashed to think his own family members were enemies. So, at the age of 13, when he overheard his
mother and brother planning to escape from the camp, he informed guards in the hope of
a reward. Instead, Shin suffered fire torture, where
he was tied up and placed over a charcoal fire until he ‘smelled his skin burning’,
and was then forced to watch his mother and brother being executed. He told the Financial Times in 2013: “I did
not have feelings for my parents. I try even now but I have a hard time doing
that.” On 2 January 2005, Shin and his friend attempted
to escape from the camp. His friend was fatally electrocuted climbing
the high voltage fence, but Shin managed to pass over the wire using his friend’s body
as a shield to ground the current. Despite recounting small elements of his story
in the years after his escape, Shin has been described by The UN as the world’s “single
strongest voice” on the atrocities inside North Korean camps. 9. KIM HYE-SOOK At just 13 years old, Kim Hye-Sook was captured
alongside her family, for reasons withheld from her at the time, and taken to prison
camp 18 to serve a 28-year sentence. In this prison, Sook explained that detainees
were divided into three per group, and were supposed to monitor each other and write up
a detailed report of what the other person has done for the guards. If reports were not written, whether the inmate
was sick or unable to write due to injured hands, guards would tear their mouths with
plyers or handcuff them until they lost circulation. Perhaps her most chilling account is of fellow
prisoners turning to cannibalism to survive by killing their own children. In one instance, she explains: “A mother
put her 9-year-old daughter in this big cast iron pot and boiled her. She was a too big for the pot so the mother
had to chop her legs and head to fit the body in the pot.” When Sook was finally released three decades
later at 42-years-old, she finally learned the reason for her imprisonment — her grandfather
had escaped to South Korea years before during the Korean War. 8. KWON HYUK Former military officer at the North Korean
Embassy in Beijing, Kwon Hyuk was also the chief of management at Camp 22. In the BBC’s This World 2004 documentary,
Hyuk claimed that the notorious camp holds an evil secret: gas chambers where horrific
chemical experiments are conducted on human beings. In the program, he said he “witnessed a
whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. The parents were vomiting and dying, but till
the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.” Hyuk has drawn detailed diagrams of the chambers,
that aren’t too dissimilar to those that were used by the Nazi’s at Auschwitz. During sessions where prisoners were placed
in the chamber, scientists would observe the process from above, through the glass. As Hyuk was completely brainwashed by the
brutal North Korean regime, he said he felt no sympathy towards the prisoners and felt
they thoroughly deserved such a death, even the children. 7. LEE SOON OK Kwon Hyuk wasn’t the only defector to describe
instances of human experimentation in North Korean camps. Former prisoner Lee Soon-ok, who spent six
years in Kaechon concentration camp, detailed one of the most distressing instances. She recalled that a guard ordered her to select
50 healthy female prisoners and give them soaked cabbage to eat. Soon after the prisoners had eaten it, they
were screaming out in pain and vomiting blood. The cabbage was laced with poison. Within 20 minutes all 50 of the women were
dead. Alongside this description she also reported
witnessing infanticide where in some cases prison guards would stamp on the necks of
babies born to prisoners to kill them, as well as instances of rape and public executions. Soon-ok was released in an amnesty in 1992
and escaped to South Korea in 1995. 6. YEONMI PARK Born in 1993, Yeonmi Park was a baby at the
height of the North Korean famine, which ultimately claimed up to 2.5 million lives. As a result, her father turned to black market
trading to prevent her family from starving. However, in 2002, he was arrested for illegal
trading and sent to a prison near Pyongyang to serve a 17-year sentence. After three years, he managed to bribe his
way out of jail. Upon his release the Park family began plotting
their escape into China to start a new life. On the night of March 30 2007, Yeonmi and
her mother made their way towards the border with the help of Chinese brokers. But they were far from safe. One of the traffickers threatened to report
them to North Korean authorities if Park wouldn’t have sex with them. But her mother intervened and offered herself
instead, she was raped in front of her daughter. A few days later Yeonmi’s father, slipped
across the border and managed to join them. Sadly, he died shortly after the trip and
Yeonmi and her mother had to bury him in secret for fear of repercussions. The pair then managed to escape into Mongolia,
to seek asylum from South Korean diplomats. 5. OTTO WARMBIER For 22-year-old American university student
Otto Warmbier, a holiday with friends to North Korea ended in utter tragedy. Whilst visiting the hermit state in January
2016, Warmbier was arrested and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor after
being convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel. Two months after his imprisonment, he suffered
severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. North Korean officials claimed he fell ill
from botulism shortly after his trial and lapsed into a coma after taking a sleeping
pill. But doctors from the University of Cincinnati
Medical Centre, who treated him following his medical evacuation from North Korea in
June 2017, have cast strong doubts over this explanation. Some doctors suggest he might have had a sudden
heart attack that went untreated, others offer more malicious causes such as some kind of
poisoning or asphyxiation. Six days after his return to the United States,
Warmbier died. 4. KIM YOUNG SOON As a young woman in the 1970’s, Young Soon
moved among the North Korean elite as a celebrated dancer for Kim Il-sung, the “founding father”
of the nation. Being around Kim’s inner circle she learned
many things about Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-Il. For instance, she knew that one of her dancer
friends was having an affair with Kim Jong-Il and that was enough to earn her a place at
the infamous Yodok prison camp – along with her parents and children, who were deemed
guilty by association. Ms Kim described the nine years she spent
in the camp as “hell”, where prisoners were forced to eat anything they could find, “we
ate, ants, rats, frogs, snakes.” She also claimed that children were born condemned,
revealing how desperate mothers would often cut open pregnant rats to harvest their foetuses,
roasting the tiny, hairless creatures, and feeding them to emaciated babies in the camp. By the time Mrs. Kim had escaped, her family,
including her parents and her and eight-year-old son, had died from the harsh conditions. 3. LUCIA JANG Jang grew up in North Korea under Kim Il-sung,
famine was rife and her family suffered because they had relatives who escaped to South Korea. Whilst working in a factory as a young woman,
she was raped, became pregnant, and was forced to marry her rapist. She spent months convincing her family to
let her come home, so they said she could on one condition: that they sell her son because
they did not want another mouth to feed. Jang agreed. Driven by starvation, Jang began illegally
crossing over to China to trade goods. But on one fateful trip she was caught and
imprisoned in Chongjin Jipgyulso labor camp. At the time, Jang was pregnant again with
her second child. She knew the fate of her seven-month-old baby:
abortion. But miraculously, she was freed. Once back at her family home, her mother informed
her that as soon as the baby was born, it would be killed and she would be sent back
to the labor camp. She told Jang to flee. She escaped with her son when he was just
a few months old, fleeing under gunfire across the Chinese border. 2. KIM KWANG-IL In February 2014, the United Nations’ Commission
of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea published a wide-ranging
report on the gross human rights violations in the country. Within the report were drawings by professional
artists based on Kim Kwang-Il’s memories of life behind bars. The 48-year-old spent more than two years
in North Korea’s notorious Jeongeori Prison for crossing the border to sell pine nuts. His drawings depict many forms of torture
and starvation the prisoners had to endure whilst detained in the camps. One of which is called “pigeon torture”
where inmates are handcuffed behind the back and through a low-lying bar attached to a
cell wall, hunched over in such a way that they can neither stand nor sit. Prisoners would often be left in this agonizing
position for three straight days, which would leave their bodies permanently contorted. Others drawings show wagons full of dead prisoners,
starving inmates eating snakes and rats to stay alive and mice eating the flesh of corpses. 1. AHN MYONG CHUL As a former North Korean prison guard, Ahn
Myong-Chul witnessed many horrors, but few haunt him like the image of guard dogs attacking
children and tearing them to pieces. Ahn, who worked as a prison camp guard for
eight years until he fled the country in 1994, recalls the day he saw three dogs attack children
coming back from the camp school. He said that the dogs killed three of the
children right away. But two others were badly hurt and still breathing
when the guards buried them alive. Despite witnessing numerous executions and
the effects of extreme torture, it was not until Chul was promoted to be a driver, transporting
prisoners between camps, that he started to question the system. During this time he spoke to many prisoners
and was astonished to find that “more than 90 percent” had no idea why they were in the
camp. It was the first time he had heard of the
three generations of punishment rule. On leave in 1994, he got a taste of the rule
himself. His father committed suicide and as it’s
illegal in North Korea, Ahn’s mother, sister and brother were detained and sent into camps. Fearing for his life, he drove his truck to
the shores of the Du Man River and swam across to China. So that’s 10 Horrifying Tales From Inside
North Korea, which of these did you find the most interesting? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this video, why not check out
10 Hilarious Threats Made by North Korea.


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