October 6, 2016: Kudos to KJD Podcast for creating this heartfelt podcast about Mr. Hwang’s campaign to learn about his father’s fate in North Korea!
“In 1969, a North Korean agent hijacked a South Korean passenger jet bound for Seoul and took with him 50 people across the border, in what has now become one of the most infamous abduction cases in Korea. Hwang In-cheol’s father was one of the passengers on board who never returned. More than 40 years later, Hwang is still holding out hope that he might be able to bring his father back from North Korea.”
September 1, 2016: Time slowly erases the traces of those held in North Korea. The longer they’re there, the easier it is to forget them. Their families, reluctant to invest more psychic energy on those for whom they know the North Koreans have no mercy, give up the quest.
As individuals move on, however, you wonder how or why bureaucrats in Seoul say nothing, do nothing. That’s a question Hwang In-cheol often ponders. He’s long since become accustomed to getting much the same response when he asks: Why can’t you please apply some pressure, do something, anything, to find out about my father?
Hwang’s father is Hwang Won, who’s been in North Korea ever since North Korean goons hijacked a Korean Air passenger plane on a domestic flight with 50 people on board in December 1969. Hwang was two at the time and has no memory of his father, a producer for MBC, but still has a black-and-white photo that shows him smiling as his father embraces him and a cousin. Alone among family members of the 11 whom North Korea never returned, Hwang refuses to accept indifferent shrugs and advice to let it go. Continue reading at Donald Kirk’s blog.
A big thank you to former TNKR intern Priscilla McCelvey for this touching and insightful piece on Mr. Hwang’s crusade and journey:
August 30, 2016: At the Freedom Bridge between North and South Korea, during a recent rally for the return of his father, Hwang In-cheol sings a traditional Korean song about missing your home, longing for your hometown. His voice is soothing and stable, almost as if a breeze could carry it, a metaphorical reach across the world’s most militarized border to try and connect with his father. The lyrics of the song are the last words any South Korean has heard from former MBC television producer Hwang Won. While imprisoned against his will in North Korea, he sang the song in protest. In response, North Korean government officials dragged him away; no one has seen him since.
All the while, Hwang In-cheol has spent most of his adult life fighting for the return of his father, who was abducted by the North Korean government on December 11, 1969. Mr. Hwang was two years old, and his father was thirty-two. On that day, a North Korean agent hijacked Korean Airlines Plane (KAL) YS-11 while en route to Seoul, taking 50 people with him across the border into North Korea. Since then, 39 of the people have been returned, the remaining eleven’s fate still unknown. Continue reading at Pax Politica.
August 19, 2016: Hwang In-cheol doesn’t remember what his father looked like. After all, Hwang was only a two-year-old toddler when an airplane his father, Hwang Won, a television program director, was on board was hijacked by a North Korean agent.
That was 47 years ago on Dec. 11, 1969. However much time may pass, some wounds never heal. For Hwang, that wound is his father. The bizarreness involved in his father’s abduction makes the situation even more painful for him. The senior Hwang was not supposed to take that fateful flight ― it was a last-minute call from his boss, who asked him to take his place. Continue reading at The Korea Times.
July 30, 2016: Here is Mr. Hwang’s speech at Seoul University of Foreign Studies at the second “Stories from the North” speech forum organised in conjunction with Teach North Korean Refugees.
July 27, 2016: North Korean refugees will share their stories at a panel event with scholars, activists and volunteers. The mini-conference, hosted by Teach North Korean Refugees and Seoul University of Foreign Studies, will feature two panels…
The refugee speakers will include North Korean-American Cherie Yang and Hwang In-Cheol, the son of a man who was on the 1969 airplane hijacked by a North Korean agent. Lartigue said he was telling his story to help efforts to get his father freed. Continue reading at The Korea Herald.
July 4, 2016: When Hwang In-cheol was 2 years old, his father disappeared. … It wasn’t until Hwang was in the third grade that his father’s brother decided he should know the truth.
Hwang Won was a 32-year-old producer for Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) based in Gangwon. On Dec. 11, 1969, he boarded a Korean Air flight from Gangneung, Gangwon, for Gimpo International Airport in Seoul to attend an MBC internal meeting. A senior colleague who was supposed to attend was busy. He ordered Hwang to fill in for him. Continue reading at The Korea JoongAng Daily.
Please sign the accompanying petition in English, Korean, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, or Chinese.
Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon:
My name is In-cheol Hwang, and I represent the Families of the KAL Passengers Abducted by North Korea. As I am writing you this letter with a heart anguished beyond repair, I am still desperately longing to see my father. Continue reading “Letter to the UN Secretary-General by Mr Hwang & Petition”
June 28, 2016: On December 11, 1969, a North Korean agent hijacked domestic flight Korean Air NAMC YS-11 from Gangwon to Gimpo just 10 minutes after take-off at 12:25 pm. All 50 people on board (46 passengers and 4 crew members) were abducted by North Korea.
The North Korean government eventually released 39 people, but held the other 11. One of those kidnapped is Hwang Won, then a producer with MBC. For about 15 years, his son, Hwang In-Cheol, has been asking the North Korean regime to return his father, doing a balancing act of raising awareness and pressure, without unnecessarily provoking the regime, and keeping it a non-political purely humanitarian effort. Continue reading at The Korea Times.
On June 17, Hwang In Cheol (47), president of the 1969 KAL Kidnapping Victims’ Family Association, appealed for the return of his kidnapped father, Hwang Won (a 32-year-old producer at MBC at the time of kidnapping), at Imjingak’s Bridge of Freedom in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. Hwang, his family, and approximately 10 members of the North Korean defectors support group Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) met the same day to support the return of those kidnapped to North Korea. Continue reading at The Daily NK.