[THIS WEEK IN HISTORY]A government thug, Choco Pies and a cult: Oct. 27-Nov. 2One of the most infamous men in Korea's modern history turned himself in three years ago this week. This was a man who would hold a suspected opponent of the government upside down and blow pepper powder into the suspect's nose, or dunk the suspect's head in a bathtub full of water until he passed out. During the military dictatorship times, Lee Geun-an, now 63, worked for the police and specialized in torturing suspects to get confessions. In 1988, when the democratic government took over, it was his turn to suffer, and he went into hiding. On Oct. 28, 1999, he turned himself in. When authorities took him to the police station, one of his former victims was waiting for him. Lee Jang-hyeong shouted, "Don't you recognize me?"
On Oct. 28, 1996 the Korean won weakened to 830 won to the U.S. dollar, its highest rate since 1990. Today it takes 1,232 won to buy $1.
On Oct. 29, 1997 the popular domestic treat the Choco Pie was registered as a brand in North Korea. On Oct. 29, 1992, a doomsday religious cult waited for a judgment day that didn't happen.
The first AIDS diagnosis in Korea was made on Oct. 31, 1986. Currently, there are 1,963 AIDS carriers in Korea, according to the government. On Oct. 31, 1964 Korea agreed to send its forces to the Vietnam War.
On the first day of November in 1998, Chung Ju-young, the president of the Hyundai Group, met the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, marking the first time a South Korean businessman made high-level links with the North. In 1999, Kim Woo-jung resigned in disgrace as the president of the Daewoo Group.
On Nov. 2, 2000 the successful South Korean film "Joint Security Area" was handed to a North Korean government officer to be shown to Kim Jong-il (no word came back on whether "The Dear Leader," a film buff, liked it). On the same date in 1992, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, paid a visit to Korea. In 1968, a group of North Korean spies were caught in Wulsan, South Gyeongsang province.
On Nov. 3, 1969 three American astronauts, Neil Amstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins, visited Seoul.
by Chun Su-jin