She fears the North Korean government still wants to kill her, and with good reason. Kim Hyun-hui was once an agent of the North Korean regime. Twenty-five years ago, on Pyongyang’s orders, she blew up a South Korean airliner. Sitting in a Seoul hotel room she describes to me how, at the age of 19, she was recruited from an elite Pyongyang University where she was studying Japanese. She trained for six years. For three of them she was paired with a young Japanese woman, Yaeko Taguchi, who had been kidnapped from her home in northern Japan. She says Mrs Taguchi taught her to speak and act like a Japanese. (via BBC News - The North Korean spy who blew up a plane)
- “When I confessed, I did so reluctantly. I thought my family in North Korea would be in danger; it was a big decision to confess. But I began to realise it would be the right thing to do for the victims, for them to be able to understand the truth.”
- In her confession, Kim made it clear that the orders to bomb the plane had come directly from Kim Il-sung or his son and heir-apparent, Kim Jong-il.
- “Without their sanction nothing could happen. We were told our orders were ‘ratified’. They only used that word when the orders came from the top. “Kim Il-sung was a god-like figure. Anything that was ordered by him could be justified. Any order would be carried out with extreme loyalty. You were ready to sacrifice your life.”
- “There is no other country like North Korea,” she says. “People outside can’t understand. The whole country is set up to show loyalty to the Kim royal family. It’s like a religion. People are so indoctrinated. There are no human rights, no freedom. When I look back it makes me feel sad. Why did I have to be born in North Korea? Look at what it did to me.”