Inside N. Korea’s Prisons: Moms kill children to survive

CBN once again brings us the news that we don’t see anywhere else. In this case they are interviewing a woman who has escaped from a North Korean political prison, Bukchang, and has written a book to tell of the horrible atrocities being committed there.

She, at age 13, and her entire family was put in Bukchang because her grandfather escaped to South Korea. Since then she’s lost 7 of her family members in Bukchang.

She recalls that some mothers will kill their children just to stave off starvation in the prison since they are given so little to eat. I just can’t imagine that kind of mindset.

As you watch this, just remember what Mark Levin said the other night, that this IS the Marxist dream.


SEOUL- South Korea — Meet a woman who has witnessed unspeakable evil and lived to tell about it.

For 28 years, Kim Hye Sook languished as a prisoner inside North Korea’s oldest concentration camp. She saw daily executions, mass starvation, and mothers killing their children to survive.

Kim granted CBN News the first American television news interview. We must warn you that the images and content of this report are not suitable for children.

Languishing in Prison

Kim is perhaps the longest serving prisoner ever to escape from North Korea.

“I went to the prison camp when I was only 13 years old and I got out when I was 41,” she said.

The year was 1975. One morning North Korean government agents burst into her home and dragged away all the members of her family.

“My entire family went to prison,” she recalled. “Some were taken to the mountains; others were put in different labor camps all because of my grandfather’s one mistake: he escaped to South Korea during the Korean War.”

Re-Education Center No. 18

Kim and some of her family were sent to Re-Education Center No. 18, also known as “Bukchang.”

“I lost seven members of my family, including my grandmother, mother, brother, and my husband,” Kim said.

Today she wears dark glasses to conceal her identity.

“I wear these glasses because I have family in the camp,” she said. “Two of my sisters and brother are still in there.”

Bukchang holds some 50,000 prisoners. It’s one of six political prison camps operated by the North Korean government.

Human rights groups estimate some 200,000 North Koreans are languishing behind the walls of these secret internment camps.

“I attended indoctrination classes in the morning,” Kims said. “In the afternoon the children were sent to push trolleys in the coal mines, often without any safety gear.”

Treated Like Slaves

Kim said she was forced to work 16 to 18 hour work days with no rest.

“People were dying in the mines. There were numerous mine collapses, so many injuries, people who lost their legs, many who were buried alive,” she recalled. “It was horrible.”

“I was treated like a slave and worse. I hardly slept. It was inhuman,” she said. “But I never complained. I just followed all the rules. I had to find a way to survive.”

Prisoners didn’t have enough food to eat. Kim said a family of seven was usually given just 10 pounds of corn a month.

Widespread Famine

“1996 was horrible. That year many people died of starvation. There was nothing to eat. There was no grass, no plants were growing,” Kim said.

“You looked around and there were bodies littered throughout the camp,” she said. “At first I was shocked but then you become numb to it all.”

CBN News asked Kim if there were days when she felt that perhaps it was not worth living. Perhaps she thought of killing herself.

“Yes, I thought of committing suicide hundreds of thousands of times in those 28 years,” she admitted. “But the way the camp is set up there is always someone watching you.”

“Each prisoner is assigned to watch four or five other prisoners,” she said. “So if anything happens, the other prisoners would alert the guards because they didn’t want to get into trouble themselves.”

Public Executions

Kim told CBN News that she witnessed countless public executions.

“Often these prisoners were killed over petty things like stealing food,” she explained.

“The guards would always gather other prisoners to watch the execution. It was a form of intimidation,” she said. “The command was then given to fire at the prisoners.”

Perhaps most chilling is Kim’s account of fellow prisoners killing their own children to stave off hunger.

Mothers Killing Children

“One time a mother put her 9-year-old daughter in this big cast iron pot and boiled her,” she said. “She was a too big for the pot so the mother had to chop her legs and head to fit the body in the pot.”

“On another occasion, a lady killed her 16-year-old son, chopped him into pieces and took him to a butcher shop to get some corn in exchange,” she said.

Kim said talking about these gruesome details isn’t easy.

“It is hard to talk about but I want the world to see these images and to hear my testimony,” she said.

Retold in Tears

She escaped from Bukchang in 2003. The details of which are being kept confidential for security reasons. Now she lives in South Korea.

This summer Kim released her memoir called, A Concentration Camp Retold in Tears. It includes images seen in this story that she drew from memory of the horrors witnessed.

“I’m thankful to be alive but I can’t get over the fact that I’ve lost half my life,” she said.

Tear Down These Walls

In September, Kim flew to Washington, D.C., to testify before a United States congressional panel about the beatings, starvation, and brutal executions that she witnessed in Bukchang camp.

“My message to the world is that we have to shut down these labor camps and set the prisoners free,” Kim testified.

“Every day people are dying. Every day people are killing each other,” she said. “I am living proof that there are no human rights in North Korea.”

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  • Wow.

  • David Robertson

    My soul cries for those people. What an evil place. This is what Satan would have us do to one another.

    • Anonymous

      Coming to America if we don’t fight back now.

  • Anonymous

    This all didn’t happen overnight. When a government obtains the power to control groups of individuals, rights are slowly taken. This is the sole reason we don’t like micromanaging presidents or elected officials picking winners and losers in this nation. Now, it’s don’t drive this car, work in this industry, or make this much money. Next, it’ s don’t say this, don’t believe that, don’t voice your opinions. Finally, it’s if you say or do this or that, you will be killed, and your family will be enslaved and murdered. All stem from liberal, utopian agendas that have your best interest at heart. If there is truly a war that needs to be fought, North Korea is the battleground. We need to topple these maggots, and make sure that we can always criticize idiots that happened to get elected to “serve” us, and not face re-education camps.

    • Anonymous

      Steven, while I don’t disagree with your evaluation of the creeping vine of communism, I’m perplexed that your diatribe was spawned by this horrible report. I’m not saying you are wrong… just a bit misplaced in your stridency.

      But now that you’ve opened the political box of North Korea, I’ll respond to a comment by you.

      Yes…it all did in fact happen over night when the Soviet Union took over the northern half from 1945 till 1948. Such is the fetid fruit of Soviet occupation. It was not because of the slow drip, drip, drip of not being vigilant for freedoms.

      Now, this may come as an inconvenient elbow nudge to the Paulites out there, but American withdrawal from Korea in June 1949 left the South open to an invasion by the North who, while America still provided protection before 1949, dared not invade the South. When the evil American Neo-Con empire occupiers (sarc.) mostly withdrew, their withdrawal enabled invasion by the North in June 1950 with support from the Soviets.

      Here’s what we can conclude. When America abdicated her protector role, unlike her role in Japan, the Korean War commenced. It became the first, arguably avoidable, conflict in the Cold War… and the rest is history.

      • Well said.

      • Anonymous

        I wasn’t giving a North Korean history lesson, or showing the exact path to oppression. Rather, I was pointing to a methods used by dictatorial governments that trample on human rights. Of course each country travels down separate paths towards dictatorship, but the end results are the same: suppression of individual rights, and chaos.

        • Anonymous

          I appreciate your intent. It’s just that this blot of a dictatorship in North Korea no longer lends itself to any logical or ideological discussion about freedoms and individual rights. They are simply murderers, killers and human excrement and what their victims suffer is an outrage against the least scrap of humanity. They level they are on is something totally different.

          • Anonymous


      • I_am_a_lead_pencil

        “When America abdicated her protector role, unlike her role in Japan, the Korean War commenced.”

        Right….so make war on all aggressor nations in order…to…stop…….war? Somebody earlier said that “this is what satan wants us to do to each other”. That comment applies to this kind of moral incongruence as well.

        • Anonymous

          “Right….so make war on all aggressor nations in order…to…stop…….war?”
          Ah the simpleton arguments of those contaminated by Paulite indoctrination. Straw man thrown in for free as well… “make war on ALL aggressor nations”. I know of no one making that argument. But nice try there. But to make it simple enough for you… yes… there are times when aggressors have to be confronted with ah… aggression. Only extremist libertarians would refuse to chip in when their neighbors are aggressed. Libertarian extremist cowardice is masked by the false sanctimony of tendentious principles like: I’m not aggressed so when my neighbor is… that’s his problem.

          America was already in Korea, deductive one. It was her untimely, but incomplete, withdrawal which prompted the attack from the North.

          • We were in Korea as a result of the defeat of the Japanese who had occupied Korea and there was no one to fend off the Russians (Soviets) who were backing Kim Il Sung. Thus, the country was divided at the 38th parallel by agreement. The U.S. military was drastically drawn down following WW II and had only a small poorly trained and motivated Army in JUNE of 1950 when North Korea invaded the south with the blessing of Joe Stalin to dominate the entire peninsula with Communism. We had only advisory troops there at the time. It’s no small miracle that we were able to come out with a truce rather than complete defeat. The rest is, as they say, history. Communism is a failed and disasterous philosophy – one has to wonder how is has been sold so well over the years. It seems to work best around ignorant fools. Like the ones in this country. I suggest the following reading:
            Communism, Socialism and Fake Jews
            “Marxism, Socialism, or Communism in practice are nothing but state-capitalism and rule by a privileged minority, exercising despotic and total control over a majority having virtually no property or legal rights. As is discussed elsewhere herein, Talmudic Judaism is the progenitor of modem Communism and Marxist collectivism as it is now applied to a billion or more of the world’s population.”

            Deaths under Communists

            • Anonymous

              You draw a parallel between a religion, and an anti-religion governmental entity. That is some deep thinking right there. Today, in class, we were going over anti-psychotic medication, and the pros and cons of prescribing certain meds for certain people. You seem to fit the delusional, schizophrenic profile, due to your detachment from reality, and your ability to try and connect dots that were never meant to be connected. Are you the lead character in Beautiful Mind, or are you just off your rocker? No, for real? Judaism and Communism? You should slap your mom and dad and big brother for not teaching you to zip dat lip.

            • mike morrison

              This is the hidden part of the Ron Paul support group that has anti-semitic views and hate for Zionists. I love Ron Paul’s economic ideas, but the undercurrent of anti-Jewish sentiment is always right under the surface and stinks to high heaven.

              • Anonymous

                Agreed… when I hear things that I DO like from Paulites, they then turn around and never fail to blow it totally with some anti-Christian diatribe or anti-Semitic conspiracy crap. And my comment to Mr. Gibby above is appropriate.

            • Anonymous

              All Libertarians think they rediscover the wheel when they school people on communism. Conservatives have been fighting this decades before libertarians fooled themselves into thinking they are the reincarnation of John Locke.

              Secondly… you exposed yourself on your Talmudic comments and in the process lost all credibility, so save your URLs buddy… crazy doesn’t sell here.

  • Anonymous

    I am for finally winning the Korean War. Would China object? I doubt it.

  • As a mother, I would cut off my own limbs to feed my children. The thought of killing them…? No, that takes something evil.

    • An evil philosophy breeds evil people. Good fruit can’t come from a sick tree. So sad…

    • LadyLiberty2000

      At first I thought she was going to tell of mothers committing “mercy” killings which itself would be shocking. Never imagined it would be for the sake of gaining more food for themselves. Those poor lost souls . . .

  • Josh

    And US prisoners complain if their cable goes out…

  • Anonymous

    Bukchang, as well as many other concentration camps in North Korea, have been forcing Koreans to work to their deaths for generations. If someone is disloyal, or commits a treasonous act against their god Kim you know who, they as well as their family relatives are sent to these camps. The most popular reason people are sent to these camps is because they have a relative who escaped North Korea. It is and has been the main deterrent from leaving North Korea, besides the deadly mine fields surrounding it’s border, since the end of Vietnam.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    This is the work and life inside a forced sectarian nation, not a ‘faithful’ or ‘religious’ nation as we would understand it. Keep that in mind.

    ‘course, it should be no surprise that when you remove God from a society, from public life, from expression, that what you get is ‘ungodly’ and inhumane. Without God, mankind is nothing more than an animal. With God, mankind is noble, purposed, and has inherent rights. This is what I remember whenever I hear a call for ‘political correctness’.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll settle for individual rights.

  • Anonymous

    I’m gonna get this chick’s book. If the world was truly dedicated to humanitarianism, we would smoke the North Korean dictatorship. And, if China doesn’t like it, screw them.

  • Brandy Carter

    The logical conclusion of secularist thinking are human atrocities such as this. It becomes so ingrained when civilization reaches a point where a mother–instead of doing what is natural in protecting her child–chooses to kill it.

    How far away are we from such a state when in America, mothers routinely choose to kill their own child at appproximately 1.2 million per year; the mothers in these camps killed their children because of her economic conditions and the secularists in America would have us believe the same with regards to abortion.

  • Dan

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” –John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitutions, 1787

  • Anonymous

    The Marxist Dream, just as Levin described.

  • Anonymous

    Obama will fix this.

    The new slogan for Obama 2012:

    Let Them Eat Hope

  • thanks for informing us… i will spread the word

  • Anonymous

    My mother’s parents fled south during the war. She lost siblings in the harsh winter conditions. Had they not successfully escaped, it is sobering to think that my life could have been wasted in one of these prison camps. I probably would not have even been born.

    On the flip side, I am extremely humbled by the fact that my first breath of life was taken here in America. Born free. It’s a privilege that I am reminded should not be taken lightly.

    • Anonymous

      Your story is touching, glad you came here. The woman’s sad experiences are truly ones of real desperation in the face of the evil she survived. GB

  • Mike Lee

    How can the world stand by and allow this to happen? Forget the Middle East. North Korea needs to be liberated.

  • Anonymous

    this is marxism done wrong.. now if we can only get the right person to implement….. oh never mind.

  • Anonymous

    Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, etc., etc., etc. Such a nice bunch.