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Seo Byeong-ho
Name: adimn
2013-12-26 16:22:57  |  Hit 1734
Files : Seo Byeong-ho.docx  

Abductee: Seo Byeong-ho
Recorded Date: Oct 18th, 2005

Profile of Abductee

Name: Seo Byeong-ho
Date of Birth: June 16, 1908
Place of Birth: Seoul, South Korea
Last Address: 61-5 Eungam-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Date of Abduction: July 14, 1950 (age 42)
Place of Abduction: Neunggok-dong, Goyang-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Occupation: Shipping Industry
Education/Career: Head of the Daehan Young Men’s Association, Campaign Manager for Lee Si-yeong from Eul-gu (Seodaemun-gu), President of the Parent-Teacher Association of Eunpyeong Elementary School
Dependents: Wife, 2 Sons, 2 Daughters
Appearance/Personality: 175cm, Oval Face / Outgoing

Profile of Testifier

Name: Seo Jae-seol (born in 1939)
Relation: Second son
Type of Witness: Indirect witness

Summary of the Abduction

- The abductee was a leader of Daehan Young Men’s Association Eun-pyeong Branch.
- Right after the Korean War broke out, he hid himself in a relative’s house but he gave himself up to the police when he heard his brother-in-law was arrested instead of the abductee.
- Since the abductee went to the police station, no news about him was given.

Description of abduction

Q. Please describe the situations when the Korean War broke out.

My father had a cheerful personality. When he was working for the Daehan Young Men’s Association, he was the head of Eunpyeong-gu branch, located in the western part of Seoul. When Dr. Lee Si-yeong, who later ran for the vice-president election, ran for the National Assembly as a representative of Eul-gu, Seodaemun, my father was his campaign manager. My father was also the president of the Parent-Teacher Association of Eunpyeong elementary school. Because of him, my family lived in affluence.
I remember going to a swimming pool with my father. He was in the shipping business and ran his company with a carriage and a dozen of horses. Sometimes he enjoyed horseback riding as a hobby. I sometimes joined him for horseback riding. As it is still today, it was a hobby that cost a lot of money. Besides sports, he was also good at playing instruments including tungso, a six-holed bamboo flute. Now I think of it, he had talents in many different fields. Before he was abducted, my family had nothing to envy, living happily in the biggest house in the town.

The year 1950 was particularly dry. I was at school on the 26th and heard the roaring of guns. When students got frightened, my home room teacher relieved us by saying “I guess the dry season is over. It sounds like rain is bringing thunder” and sent us home. The day after Seoul fell to North Korea, he gathered us to school and gave us the North Korean flag.
He also taught us a song called ‘Changbaeksan.’ Without even knowing the meaning, I sang along with my classmates. My teacher was a graduate of Pyongyang Normal School. At that time, teachers who graduated from Pyongyang Normal School and Hamheung Normal School were most competent. I later found out that my teacher was a spy from the North. That was why he handed out the North Korean flags to students, which he had been hiding for a long time and taught us the song. I remember that we waved the flag on the 28th when the North Korean Army came to Seoul. I also sang the song with my teacher and friends when the North Korean tanks arrived in Seoul.

Q. Please describe how your father was abducted.

As North Korea began to rule Seoul from the 28th, he felt threatened and fled to his aunt’s house in Neunggok. Internal policemen came home to take him away. Unable to locate him, they went to the house of my uncle (my mother’s brother) who was living in the same town. Unable to find him there either, they threatened my mother and uncle to tell them his whereabouts.
Since they could not get any information from my mother or uncle, they took my mother to the Internal Police Station and interrogated her. Failing to obtain any information from her, they then took my uncle. My aunt who was living in the same town got scared and persuaded my mother to turn my father in, saying he would be fine. To protect my father, my mother did not tell where my father was. However, the policemen somehow found out and took my father who had been hiding in the house of his aunt in Neunggok.
It was July 14, 1950 and I was only a fifth grader in elementary school. We received no information on him, since then. There was a rumor that the North Korea Army put all abductees in a national library. My mother wanted to visit him but did not know how. After that, we did not have a chance to see him ever again.

Reason behind the Abduction

Q. Why do you think he was abducted?
My father was a head of the Daehan Young Men’s Association. When everyone was in disturbance after the Korean War broke out, he walked around the town, wearing his Daehan Young Men’s Association armband to relieve people. Fearing that he would be a target, I told him to take off the armband. However, he continued to play his role as a head of the Daehan Young Men’s Association.
Also, we lived in Eunpyeong-gu, which had the most number of leftists. It was even more so in Yeokchon-dong where poor people lived. Many of them were farmers and others shoveled human manure from other’s toilets or had unfavorable jobs. They barely made their ends meet.
I assume that they were probably displeased with the fortune of my family and informed on my father. Moreover, because he was the president of the Parent-Teacher Association of Eunpyeong elementary school, he was probably on the bourgeois class list, making him to be at the very top of the arrest list.

News after the Abduction

Q. Have you heard any news about him?
No news. Actually, the way the Internal policemen treated people from the bourgeois class or people on the blacklist were shocking. People on the blacklist were tried in the people’s court. When they were executed, they were beaten to death by pickax, not shot to death.
The officers speared people until they breathe their last breath. Leftists living in Yeokchon-dong were in the forefront of such inhumane treatment. They wore armbands, checked who did not come to the people’s court and taught us false history such as an anti-Japanese fight by their great leader, Kim Il-sung. During the people’s assembly, the Internal policemen lied to us saying that Kim Il-sung lost one of his ears while fighting against Japan. We just guess what would happened to him after the abduction.
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