The story of Kim Hyun-hee, a terrorist who was forgiven for 115 deaths
On November 29, 1987, a South Korean airliner en route from Vienna-Baghdad-Abu Dhabi-Seoul disappeared from radar in the Andaman Sea. It was soon announced that the plane had exploded and crashed into the sea, killing all the passengers and crew on board. The disaster turned out to be a terrorist attack and the persons who committed it were quickly identified and found. But the capture of the terrorists did not solve the mystery of the explosion, but, on the contrary, caused the appearance of many riddles that still have no answers.
It was not difficult for the special services to find the people who had blown up the airliner in the air. They were two passengers who boarded in Baghdad and left in Abu Dhabi. A man and a woman of Asian appearance from the capital of the United Arab Emirates flew to Bahrain, where they were detained right at the airport. They posed as Japanese father and daughter on a business trip.
The arrest of the terrorists was inevitable – the couple had fake passports of Japanese citizens, in which the name Mayumi stood instead of the last name. It is clear that the organizers of the explosion did not particularly try to prepare the perpetrators. But they did not forget to supply them with poison – an elderly man immediately after the arrest bit through a cyanide capsule and died.
But the "daughter" was delivered to Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, in one piece. We can say that this happened very timely – the country was just preparing for the presidential elections and any serious event could shift the scales of political balance.
The arrested girl for some time posed first as a Japanese woman, then as a Korean woman originally from China, but then admitted that her name was Kim Hyun-hee and that she was from North Korea. After that, a farce began, capable of disappointing even fans of low-grade tabloid novels about spies. The story of the terrorist from the DPRK was replicated by hundreds of publications around the world and caused confusion among many readers.
Kim Hyun-hee told about the fact that she received the task to blow up the plane personally from the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, about the details of preparing for a terrorist act, richly interspersing this story with melodramatic plots from her own difficult biography.
According to the girl, the attack was supposed to simulate domestic terrorism and force citizens of the countries of the socialist camp to refuse to travel to an unsafe capitalist country. Another important goal was to destabilize the situation in the country on the eve of the presidential elections and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
The young terrorist told investigators that she was born and raised in the ideological family of a North Korean diplomat. Thanks to her father, Kim Hyun-hee was able to learn English and Japanese and get a job in the foreign intelligence Service. The Japanese language, according to the girl, she honed in the company of a Japanese woman abducted by the special services of the DPRK. The success shown by the scout in training and combat training led to the fact that Kim Jong Il personally selected her for a dangerous mission.
At the same time, the girl did not pretend to be a heroine who died for her communist ideas. She fervently said that she sincerely repented of what she had done, that she had been misled at home and now saw that South Korea was not a poor country with disenfranchised, downtrodden people, but a prosperous modern state. While the investigation continued, Kim Hyun-hee even converted to the Protestant faith.
In March 1988, the young terrorist was sentenced to death, and two years later, in the spring of 1990, she was pardoned. Kim Hyun-hee now lives with her husband, whom she met in South Korea, in Seoul, and earns a living by writing and lecturing.
The woman carefully portrays a repentant communist and even goes to Japan, where she speaks to people with stories about the horrors of the North Korean totalitarian regime. We can say that the life of the former terrorist turned out well – she earned more than $ 1 million with her books and they continue to bring her income.
But not everyone believes in Kim's dramatic story and her disillusionment with her former homeland. The unexpected pardon of the murderer of 115 people, the transition from aggressive atheism to Protestantism and the stereotypical life story of this woman have led many to doubt who organized the terrorist attack over the Andaman Sea and whether it was a terrorist attack at all.
In the history of Kim Hyun-hee, everything is "sewn with white threads", starting from artisanal Japanese passports with a gross error on the first page, and ending with her "correction" and an active life position after a short time in prison. It was also alarming that Kim did not have a distinctive North Korean accent and spoke like an ordinary resident of Seoul.
If we go even deeper, then the technical part of the terrorist attack raised serious questions from experts. The terrorist had a very vague idea about explosives and, in particular, about the bomb she left in the South Korean plane. Experts say that a device of this type and size is generally unlikely to blow up the plane instantly, so that the pilots do not even have time to send an SOS signal.
Among the things of the terrorists, many strange items were found, which simply could not have been in the luggage of professional intelligence officers. "Dad" and" daughter " kept photos, coins, souvenirs, scraps of paper with some notes and other things that may be in the suitcases of tourists or businessmen, but not communist terrorists. According to the photos, it became known that before the terrorist attack, the perpetrators visited Budapest and Moscow.
By 2006, there were so many questions that the South Korean security services decided to return to the case of the explosion and began to call Kim Hyun-hee for questioning. Because of the resumption of the investigation, the political situation in the country worsened – the new, "left" authorities needed to expose the military regime, and the conservative parties defended the old version of events. However, the new investigation ended in nothing.
In 2012, the United States declassified a number of documents related to the 1987 terrorist attack, which confirmed the version of North Korea's involvement in the bombing of the plane. The South Korean media immediately began to write about the point in the investigation, set by an independent American investigation. But the documents available to everyone did not tell absolutely nothing concrete and the mystery of the terrorist Kim remained unsolved.
In light of these events, the press increasingly began to appear the opinion that there was no explosion on board the liner and the Boeing-707 crashed for technical reasons. In favor of this, the fact that accidents with airliners of this model happened often, and the lost plane also had 36 thousand hours of flight time, which spoke of its very advanced age.
Of the 1010 "Boeing-707" produced by the manufacturer, 192 died "not by natural death". Some of them were destroyed by terrorists, some died on the ground during the fighting and fires, but the percentage of those who crashed due to various malfunctions and crew errors was also very high. Simply put, these liners were not considered reliable, and with age they fell into a serious risk group at all.
It is alarming that the wreckage of the plane found on the coast of Myanmar, which had excellent relations with Seoul, was long unclaimed, and after returning to South Korea, it was not subjected to serious examinations. Nor did they check the biography of "Mayumi" Kim Hyun-hee too much.
The girl clearly did not fit into her age, telling about the events of her life and studies. Apparently, she must have been 2-3 years older than she says. There were no traces of the family of diplomats in which Kim was born, and these are not some farmers, but people working in the international arena.
In a word, everything turned out to be very similar to the fact that a terrorist attack was staged in Seoul, taking advantage of the crash of the liner, which occurred for unknown reasons. The purpose of the performance was another discredit of North Korea and its leader, who allegedly personally gave cannibalistic orders. It is quite possible that neither Pyongyang nor Seoul is to blame for the tragedy, but simply the South Korean special services took advantage of the opportunity and beautifully, though flawlessly, played the North Korean card.
Keywords: North Korea | Asia | South Korea | Plane | Kim Jong Il | Seoul | Politics | Terrorist attacks