Life of Hard Labor: Kim Jung-Wook

Laura Murray By Laura Murray, 26th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Read about a man that has been sentenced to life in a North Korean prison with an indefinite term of labor education. All because he decided to help the unfortunate within North Korea.

Case File

AGE: 50 years
Citizenship: South Korea
Religion: Baptist – Christian
Crimes: anti-North Korea religious acts, “malignantly hurting the dignity” of the Supreme Leadership, spying, setting up underground churches
Sentence: Hard Labor for Life, indefinite term of “labor education”

Kim Jung-Wook (Kim Jung-uk in North Korean) was based in Dandong, China for several years. Since 2007, he has helped North Korean defectors flee to South Korea through countries such as Thailand and Laos. The Chinese authorities caught 12 North Korean women in August 2012 from his shelter and sent them back to North Korea. Kim crossed into North Korea to find out the status of the women and to get information regarding food shortages.

It was this excursion that got Kim arrested on October 7, 2013 for illegally entering North Korea from China. He was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the state, espionage, anti-state propaganda and agitation, and illegal border crossing. Missionary work is illegal in North Korea.

Kim was imprisoned until his trial. In February, North Korea released a television program featuring him. The program alleged that Kim received assistance from South Korea’s intelligence agency and that Kim had apologized for committing anti-state crimes. South Korea continually denies any such links to Kim.

At his June 2014 trial, Kim admitted to charges of religious activities, including attempting to infiltrate Pyongyang to set up and underground church, and “malignantly hurting the dignity” of the Supreme Leadership. The prosecutors were seeking the death penalty but the court gave life in prison, possibly giving leniency for repentance.

Foreign prisoners are sent to two facilities for labor education.

Seoul has strongly called for Kim’s release but its calls have gone unanswered.

North Korea

North Korea is an atheist state and is considered the #1 country for Christian persecution. The UN has charged the country with crimes against humanity and is pushing for the nation to be brought before the International Criminal Court. Their report includes charges of extermination forced abortions, rape, and widespread abductions. It is believed that as many as 50,000 North Korean Christians are currently imprisoned in concentration camps.

About the Author

Laura left government service as an intelligence analyst on crime, drugs, and terrorism, to pursue writing. She started analyzing Christian persecution around the world and became a de facto expert on the subject. Laura strives to relate hard-to-get, complex information to her readers. Creating her own databases of information and working hard to create world wide networking partners, she is able to provide timely and detailed analysis on the issue. She also provides a one-stop-shop for prisoner information, persecuted stories, statistical analysis, and more. To connect with her via social media and/or to see more of her work, go to


Detention, Hard Labor, Imprisonment, Jail, Kim Jung-Wook, Missionary, North Korea, Persecution, South Korea

Meet the author

author avatar Laura Murray
My passions in writing are in Christian persecution and food/health. I also love to pursue topics in terrorism and intelligence as my experience and education are in these areas.

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