Status of North Korean Terror Prisoner May Change
covering burma and southeast asia
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Status of North Korean Terror Prisoner May Change

By Htet Aung Monday, April 23, 2007


The status of Rangoon’s longest-held foreign prisoner could change if the generals in Napyidaw resume diplomatic ties with North Korea, as is widely anticipated.

But exactly how it may change is anyone's guess. 

Kang Min-Chul, o­ne of the three North Korea’s agents who attempted to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan during an official visit to Rangoon in October 1983, was arrested following the unsuccessful assassination in which 21 people, including four, top-ranking South Korean cabinet ministers, ware killed. Since then, he has been detained in Burma’s notorious Insein prison for nearly 24 years.

When the government of the Burmese Socialist Programme Party tried the case, Kang confessed and avoided a death sentence by recounting the story of the mission to assassinate the South Korean President. o­ne of his comrades was shot dead by Burmese security forces while trying to escape and the other received a death sentence and was reportedly killed the same year.
The North Korea government denied that they were citizens of the country. Thus, Kang is likely to be a stateless prisoner if he is released by the regime.

In February 2006, Chyng Hyung-Keun, a member of South Korea’s opposition Grand National Party and a former intelligence agency worker, introduced a petition calling for the Korean National Assembly to urge the government to bring Kang to South Korea, according to the South Korean News Agency Yonhap.

Observers are now speculating how Kang's status may be changed if Burma resumes ties with North Korea.

“Now Kang Min-Chul can speak the Burmese language fluently, and he's not willing to return to either North Korea, which considers him a betrayer, or South Korea, which could bring him to trail for the attempted assassination of their president,” said a former political prisoner who served time in the same prison.

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