Kim Yong grew up as an orphan in North Korea. His orphanage was a mansion, filled with the sons and daughters of dead North Korean war heroes. Kim hoped to honor his father’s legacy through his fierce patriotism. Every winter’s day, he meticulously brushed the snow from a statue of then-North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il.
But then, police came and dragged him to a labor camp. They said his father had been a spy for the CIA. And although he’d not seen his dad since he was three, they sent him to a labor camp. Not until he saw a friend beaten to death did he finally shift blame from his father – to the regime.
Kim Yong knew then, he had to escape. Hear how he did it, today on KUOW.
Other stories on KUOW Presents, Monday, April 8: