From Hwang Solo to Team Hwang

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.

A Son’s Plea From Imjingak: Please Return My Kidnapped Father


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.

Son Calls for NK to Return Abducted Father

June 17, 2016: Hwang In-cheol holds up a sign saying “North Korea…Be Free My Father” at an event to send a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the border city Paju, north of Seoul, on June 17, 2016. His father Hwang Won has been in captivity since December 1969, when a South Korean plane carrying Hwang, a radio producer, and 50 other crew members and passengers was hijacked by a North Korean agent on its way from the eastern South Korean city of Gangneung to Seoul.

Yonhap Picture of the day

Human Rights Council: Protect North Koreans

September 18, 2015: … The side event will be at 4 p.m. in room XXI, Palais des Nations, with Michael Kirby; Marzuki Darusman, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea; and Fisher, along with seven persons directly affected by North Korea’s abductions and rights abuses, including Choi Sung Yong; Kim Dong-nam; Banjong Panjoy, the nephew of Thai abductee Anocha Panjoy; Takuya Yokota, the brother of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota; Eiko Kawasaki, an ethnic Korean Japanese who escaped North Korea; Hwang In-cheol, whose son was abducted after North Korea hijacked Korea Air flight YS-11 and diverted it to Pyongyang; and Tomoharu Ebihara, chair of the Association for the Rescue of North Korea Abductees.

A 2014 report by the UN Commission of Inquiry found that since 1950, the North Korean government has systematically kidnapped nationals from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Europe, and the Middle East. Pyongyang forced them to stay in North Korea, where the commission found that gross, pervasive, and systemic human rights abuses take place at a scale and gravity without parallel in the contemporary world including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence. Continue reading at Human Rights Watch.

Help Me Free My Father From NK

August 13, 2015: The following is the text, translated into English, of Hwang In-cheol’s letter to Marzuki Darusman, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in North Korea:


Dear Mr. Marzuki Darusman,

I am asking for your help as a last resort out of desperation for the repatriation of my father. I am the son of Mr. Hwang Won, who was hijacked by North Korean spies on December 11, 1969, on the way to a business trip.

Please allow me to attend the panel talks that you will be leading in Geneva this September, where I would be able to attend to ask the North Korean government for the repatriation of my father. Continue reading at NK News.

DMZ Flashpoints: The 1969 Hijacking Of Korean Airlines YS-11

Thanks to the ROK Drop blog for this excellent piece on the hijacking and Mr Hwang which includes several articles from 1969 and 1970:

August 10, 2015: North Korea has a long history of terrorism with the 1968 Blue House Raid when 31 North Korean operatives tried to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-hee as the most audacious example.  Once the commandos were detected the ensuing gunfights killed dozens of civilians and soldiers. A year later on December 12, 1969 the North Koreans would conduct a more conventional terrorist act by hijacking a civilian airliner flying from Gangneung to Gimpo carrying 46 passengers and four crew members. Continue reading at the ROK Drop blog.

The Hijacked Flight My Mother Didn’t Take

February 18, 2015: On December 11, 1969, a Korean Air Lines flight was on a brief domestic route within South Korea, when a North Korean agent hijacked the plane by aiming a gun at the pilots. North Korean fighter jets also swarmed in and accompanied the flight. The plane was forced to land in North Korea, along with its crew of two pilots, two stewardesses, and 46 passengers. The crew and seven other passengers never returned to South Korea.

As fate would have it, my mother just missed being one of the stewardesses on that flight, Korean Air Lines (KAL) YS-11. Continue reading at The Archipelago.

MH-370: NK Has Track Record of Hijacking Passenger Planes

This is quite “out there” but it does mention the hijacking of KAL YS-11 and for that Mr. Hwang is grateful.

March 28, 2014: In 1969, North Korea hijacked a plane and kidnapped the passengers and crew. 39 passengers were eventually released. The fate of the crew plus 7 passengers is still unknown. …

According to passenger testimony, one of the passengers rose from his seat 10 minutes after takeoff and entered the cockpit, following which the aircraft changed direction and was joined by three North Korean fighter jets. The aircraft landed at Sǒndǒk Airfield near Wonsan at 1:18 PM. North Korean soldiers boarded the aircraft afterwards, blindfolded the passengers, and instructed them to disembark. Continue reading at ETN Global Travel Industry News.

Action Demanded for Kidnapping Victims

March 18, 2014: “The state exists to protect the property and lives of its people. Who is the government working for if they continue to turn a blind eye to those trying to find their kidnapped family members? The Ministry of Unification has turned the other way when faced with the suffering of the families of those who were abducted… they are just as silent in the face of North Korea’s lies,” he said. Continue reading at The Daily NK.

action 2014