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"The Third Area"in Russian Territory (3)
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2016-01-20 14:08:52
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"The Third Area"in Russian Territory (3)

 

LEE Young Il



"The Underground Cell" in the Mission Building. 

In May 1994, a mission building moved to a new one that was at the edge of the city. Before moving to a new mission building, the building had been only a two-storied wooden building near the heart of the city. However, a new mission building was constructed at the end of 1993, with a new mission's accession to office. 

The building had been initially designed to be a school by Chinese who lately blew away all money in a fire accident on its way to construct, and then remained empty as a national property. 

While looking for the right place to construct a its building, it was chosen and constructed under the gratuitous lease contract for 10 years on condition that they should completely repair the burned inside of the building and make into a new one. 

It was not hard for the mission that once run the 8 large joint operation farms and the 30 small and large construction corps to repair and decorate the building. 

Once the contract of gratuitous lease for 10 years was fixed up, a stern order was given to each joint operation farm and construction corp to arrange man power and materials. About 10 technical experts who were chosen from each construction corps started the construction enterprise of the so-called "speed battle" in North Korea, eating and sleeping at the very site of the construction place. Other joint operation farms which couldn't afford to provide the expert laborers were told to supply foods and construction materials with their own money. 

The construction enterprise was in fact a kind of bluff that the mission affirmed the burnt building to be built into a wonderful one like a palace in one month to the Russians concerned, and they found their pride dangling from the task. 

The mission hastened the construction with all its effort, and the farms and laborers in charge of the construction sweated out to accomplish their work alloted. At that time the third farm at which I was working took an order to provide a pig for the construction labors' food. As it was the poorest one, some agile persons were chosen to break in Russian farm and steal the pig. 

Whoever served in the army during the long period of army service for as much as 10 years (now 12 years) had a good skill to kill a pig silently at a stroke. There were a lot of skilled experts who could steal a wild hog silently in a few minutes with a small gas lighter. I remember clearly that the manager of the farm puzzled his head over the order to accomplish various tasks to decorate the inside of the mission building such as chairs, carpets, desks and the like. 

Thanks to the unconditional help of all the construction corps with about 3,000 labors and joint farms and the day and night effort of in-the-field expert construction labors who were selected, the mission created a miracle only in a month that the burnt building was turned into such a sleek building with new born interior just as a newly built house. 

The inside of the magnificent building was wholly covered with carpet, and the president office was so brilliant just like that of Kim Il-sung's as was decorated with a picture on which wild geese were flying against a beautiful moon light, painted by a talented painter and was dazzling with some pieces of luxurious furniture which could not be seen even in a mayor's office of Amur Province. 

How the Russian officers who would scoff at the opening ceremony, having known the poor condition of North Korean farmers who could not eat properly and were pressed to farm work, shocked and were embarrassed? 

The Russian managers of the joint operation farm threw a blunt censure and sneer to the bluff and power of North Korean executives who distracted the expert construction labors at the height of their work away without their consent and put them into constructing the magnificent mission building. 

There was underground floor as magnificent as the above ground floors in the building that was built at the cost of the blood and sweat of labors and farmers. On the underground floor, there was a nice bathhouse, decorated with a Turkish bath, where the executives and family of the mission could bathe and there was a big warehouse where construction materials were kept. 

But there was a secret room that was unknown to common people. The purpose of the unknown room was well known to the members, the drivers and the family of the mission. The door of the outside of the room was an ordinary grass color tin plate, however inside of the door lay a big iron lattice across a large room in which there were a table and a chair. There was an iron-barred door, at one side, through which only one person could go in and out. It was obviously seen as a terrifying and horrifying prison. I will introduce an incident thereafter as follows and who had been imprisoned. 

"The Offenders" of the Underground Prison. 

There was a provision office, which was run as an independent commercial profit system at the mission, that provided various clothes and foods to all the joint operation farms and construction corps affiliated to the Reungra General Bureau. 

I also worked as an interpreter for 3 months in 1991 at the provision office of the mission, and it was indeed a comfortable job. 

Food and drinks were abundant at the so-called provision office, and the office was so powerful that other joint operation farms and construction corps affiliated to the mission would pay a lip service to it. There were a manager, a provision supervisor and two warehouse-men who managed the warehouse whom even officers, having one interpreter and a Japanese passenger car with a decent driver of the mission, envied. 

The incident that I intend to introduce is that about Mr. Kim who worked at the office as a supervisor. 

When the manager, a person in charge of the provision office, went to the head office at Pyongyang on business, it was rumored that the provision supervisor who bore temporary responsibility for the business of the mission one day was suddenly confined in the underground prison. 

Since the manager was accompanied with a car driver to Pyongyang, the supervisor would personally drive the car on business and one evening he, intoxicated, came to the office with a beautiful Russian 19-year-old girl. It resulted in the start of the incident of an imprisonment. 

It was so foolish of him to take a Russian girl that it naturally drew other's attention because several men in service used to be in a night duty at the waiting room. Apart from how he met her and got dead drunk outdoors, it must have really been an insane behavior for him to take a Russian girl inside. 

The sternest point of the foreign life regulation that North Korean abroad should observe thoroughly was a relation with a foreign woman. No one can imagine to take a foreign woman into the very mission building at that time when North Koreans except for an approved interpreter were strictly forbade even to meet any foreigners outdoors. Besides he seemed to have sexual relationship with her in his room while he locked the door from inside. Instead he should let her go only after having a cup of tea. Therefore It is obvious how the witness looked at it critically. 

As they entered a supervisor's room next to the dining room on the first floor, it was reported that people peeped into the room through a keyhole or a window. Ultimately he came to make a mistake whether it was small or big. It was lately proved that he did not have a sexual relationship but just invited her inside and confabulated over some more drinks as he felt high. 

What if they might have such a sexual intercourse!? Of course he would not commit such mistake when he is sane, but he could not expect to be exempted from being confined in the underground prison. Once he was enforced to be locked down, he could not do anything but writing down what he had done from A to Z like an inquire paper and never could see the outer world for about 10 days. 
Staff members who was in charge of delivering food to him should be careful not to be involved in a crime only due to a slip of a tongue. 

A warehouse keeper who used to deliver his food came under punishment only because he handed a cigar without the permission from the authority. 

One and a half month later, he was sent to Pyongyang. He was forced to wear a plaster cast with an iron plate covered on his lags, as all North Korean criminals who were being sent under guard from abroad to NK. That was to prevent a criminal from running away on the way of transport, and to disguise the infringement of human rights, showing just like they sent wounded patients when they crossed a boundary line. 

It was apparently against the International law for foreigners to establish prisons outside of their own territory and to abuse human rights. North Korea had made such prisons all over the world, some of which have been revealed thereafter. North Koreans, however, would not refrain from committing those inhuman crime overtly and they even seem to be numbed in doing such a brutal behavior. 
Working as an interpreter at a joint operation farm, I had seen several times the North Korean people who were arrested and sent to North Korea wearing a plaster cast on their lags. 

They would bring a person to a kangaroo court and order him "to be fastened" right after declaring the decision. Then several people rushed at him and put a plaster cast on his lags. 

In the winter of the year 1992, a labor who worked at the construction corps affiliated to the Reungra General Bureau in the region of Konstantinovoskaya, murdered his fellow worker with a knife while he was drunken. He was also confined in a Russian prison for several days and sent under guard to Pyongyang wearing a plaster cast on his lags. 

Such kind of people are being confined in the underground prisons in the big cities in Amur province. 

The criminals were at most engaged in trade at other district for months without permission or they had an unidentified meeting with Russian or a relationship with Russian woman. 

Whether it can be a crime or not should be judged by conscience of the globe, and I wonder that those who are deprived of minimum freedom and human rights can be called 'human' in the our world. 

I think that the most severe violence against human rights and degradation of dignity lie in nowhere but here. 

In terms of severeness, we can think of it as the most extreme case to deprive the minimum standard of human rights, which everyone deserves though, and to force people to do everything in a way given in. 

The life value of those who can not possess basic human rights weighs so little that we cannot find any parallel anywhere else in the world. Thus we can hardly consider their life as a human life. 

Based upon the sense of value about human rights, it comes to us clearly that we can draw unquestionable conclusion from the dispute over the life of North Koreans who are working in a foreign district, so called 'The Third Territory'.