We are a group of volunteers that stand in solidarity with Mr. Hwang In-cheol in his fight to bring his father home from North Korea.
North Korea continues to deny Hwang In-cheol access to any information on his father’s current whereabouts. Despite having made numerous requests (e.g., inter-Korean family reunions, letters to ICRC and UN) for confirmation of his father’s vital status, Pyongyang continually refuses to verify whether he is alive or not.
Team Hwang aims to mobilize grassroots movement in support of Hwang In-cheol so that North Korea has no choice but to disclose correct information about his father’s situation.
Everyone has the right to freely stay or leave his or her country, and to be with one’s family. That right has been blatantly violated for Hwang Won and his family for the last 50 years.
Team Hwang aims to uphold these basic rights and recontainee a father with his family.
This is the only plane hijacking case in history that remains unresolved, which is largely due to lack of awareness and interest. Team Hwang recalls similar cases of North Korean abductions that were successfully resolved as a result of widespread awareness and a willingness to take action.
Team Hwang aims to accumulate worldwide pressure on North Korea to investigate this crime and provide relief to Hwang Won and the other hijacking victims.
North Korea’s abductions remain an ongoing issue that targets many countries, including in Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe.
Team Hwang hopes that by raising awareness of Hwang Won’s case, we will pave the way to solving hundreds of other abduction cases.
Since 1983, North Korea has been a state party to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, under which anyone who hijacks a civilian aircraft should be extradited or prosecuted “without exception whatsoever”. Pyongyang continues to claim that the KAL flight was voluntarily diverted by the pilots and that the passengers who currently remain in North Korea do so by their own will. Neither of these claims have been verified.
Team Hwang believes in upholding justice and humanitarian principles that have been agreed upon by the international commcontainey, including North Korea.
return to South Korea.
We pride ourselves on having a diverse and global team made up of volunteers who have come together to stand with Hwang In-cheol. Our members have contributed their skills and commitment to justice, making Team Hwang what it is today. The team is responsible for research, campaigning and advocacy, as well as fundraising - all aimed at raising international awareness of Hwang Won’s abduction and his right to return to his family in South Korea.
March 4~6 : In partnership with other NGOs, Team Hwang travels to Brussels, Belgium, to advocate for the return of Hwang In-cheol’s father at the European Parliament.
March 7~14: In partnership with other NGOs, Team Hwang travels to Geneva, Switzerland, to advocate for the return of Hwang In-cheol’s father at the UN Human Rights Council.
May 9: At North Korea’s 3rd cycle UPR, the representatives of Uruguay and Iceland urges North Korea to address the KAL hijacking case of 1969. Iceland directly mentions Hwang Won’s name, calling on North Korea to “immediately release” him to South Korea.
October 5: On behalf of Hwang In-cheol, Team Hwang submits a report to the UN Human Rights Council for North Korea’s 3rd cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
December 11: Marking the 49th anniversary of the KAL hijacking, Team Hwang members gather to write letters to foreign embassies in Seoul to raise Hwang In-cheol’s case at North Korea’s 3rd cycle UPR.
May 30: The annual report of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) highlights the KAL hijacking case.
December 11: Marking the 48th anniversary of the KAL hijacking, Team Hwang holds a press conference calling on North Korea to allow Hwang In-cheol to recontainee with his father in a 3rd country.
June 1: TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees) creates Team Hwang, a group of volunteers dedicated to helping Hwang In-cheol raise international awareness of his father’s abduction.
On May 8th (Parents’ Day), Hwang In-cheol attempts to send his father the commemorative flower bouquet. The Minister of Unification rejects Hwang’s request. Concurrently, Hwang In-cheol calls on the South Korean government to demand his father’s repatriation in accordance with the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft. Hwang’s request is rejected.
Hwang In-cheol applies to the South Korean Ministry of Unification for permission to visit North Korea and to personally contact the head of the North Korean Red Cross office. The South Korean authorities rejects Hwang’s application.
With the help of renowned broker, “Superman”, Hwang In-cheol attempts to aid his father’s escape to China. However, the mission fails, allegedly because of the North Korean government’s 3rd nuclear experiment and the subsequent closing of the surrounding sea lanes that prevents Hwang’s father from travelling to China.
June 17: Team Hwang stages its first event at Imjingak (Freedom Bridge), near the DMZ, calling for the repatriation of Hwang In-cheol’s father. This marks the beginning of the #BringMyFatherHome campaign.
August 30: Marking the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Team Hwang submits a copy of UN Security Council Resolution 286 to the UN Human Rights Office in Seoul. Adopted on September 8, 1970, the UN Security Council Resolution 286 appeals for the immediate release of all passengers and crew members held as a result of hijackings “without exception.”
December 10: Marking the Human Rights Day, Team Hwang stages a candlelight vigil to express solidarity with Hwang In-cheol’s father.
February: Hwang In-cheol files a criminal complaint against Cho Change-Hee, the North Korean hijacker. The complaint is rejected.
North Korea responds to the WGEID petition stating that there is “no person in [their] country who ha[d] been forcibly or involuntarily detained against his or her will.” Since then, Hwang In-cheol has continuously urged South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Unification to firmly rebut North Korea’s position. To date, his requests have been constantly rejected.
Hwang In-cheol is contacted by a broker code-named “Superman,” who claims to know about his father’s whereabouts.
Hwang In-cheol urges the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to call on North Korea to provide information on his father. North Korea repeats its standing answer that all those who remain in North Korea are doing so voluntarily and that their fate “could not be confirmed.”
Hwang In-cheol establishes the 1969 Korean Air Abductees’ Families Association
North Korea rejects Hwang In-cheol’s application to meet with his father, claiming that it is impossible to verify his life status. The other 5 family members receive the same answer.
3rd inter-Korean family reunion event; Seong Kyung-hee, one of the two abducted flight attendants, is allowed to meet briefly with her South Korean mother.
Hwang In-cheol, along with 5 other family members, applies for the inter-Korean family reunion
On December 11th 1969, 4 crew members and 47 passengers boarded the Korean Air Lines YS-11 aircraft in Gwangwon-do. Just 10 minutes after take off, one of the passengers rose from his seat and entered the cockpit. This passenger was a North Korean sleeper agent called Cho Ch'ang-hǔi (조창희). Suddenly, the plane changed direction and was joined by 3 Korean People’s Air Force fighter jets. The plane landed in Yonpo Airfield, North Korea, and North Korean soldiers then proceeded to board the aircraft, blindfold the passengers and instruct them to disembark. During each day of captivity, the passengers were subjected to 4 hours of attempted indoctrination.
The night after the hijacking, 100,000 people in South Korea took to the streets in a mass rally to protest the incident, burning an effigy of Kim Il-Sung. On 25th December, North Korea finally responded and proposed to hold talks on the matter.
On 14th February 1970, after 66 days of captivity, the hostages were to be returned to South Korea at the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom. However, on the day of repatriation, only 39 passengers stepped foot on South Korean soil. According to the North Korean government, the 11 hostages left had voluntarily chosen to remain in North Korea. Until this day, that statement remains unverified.
An explanation for the hijacking remains unclear. North Korea stated that the pilots themselves had redirected the aircraft in protest against the current policies of the president of South Korea, Park Chung-hee, however the returned passengers have refuted these claims.
As for the whereabouts of the 11 remaining hostages, North Korea continues to withhold this information from the families. In 2008, at the inaugural meeting of the 1969 Korean Air Abductees’ Families Association, a veteran from the National Intelligence Service, Song Yeong-in, commented that they were most likely detained in North Korea for their propagandic value and skilled expertise. Oh Kil-nam, who had briefly defected to North Korea in 1986, claimed that he had met the two flight attendants and the two Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation employees, Hwang Won and Gim Bongju. He reported that they were employed to issue propaganda broadcasts to the South.