Activists hanged, a misanthrope and a controversial film

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Activists hanged, a misanthrope and a controversial film

April 9, 1975
Times were hard during the military regimes of the 1970s. Then-President Park Chung Hee, during his 18-year grip on power, exercised an iron fist against social activists that included severe punishment after only rudimentary investigations. On this date, eight college students whom the National Intelligence Service labeled North Korean spies were hanged.
According to the agency, the college activists formed the People’s Revolution Party, with a dark design instigated by then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung to overthrow the South’s government. The party ranked among the leading anti-South Korean groups alongside the National Democratic Young Students Association. The college activists, who numbered 180, insisted they were tortured to reveal a fabricated truth for the National Intelligence Service. Members of the People’s Revolution Party were sentenced to a few years in prison, though most were found not guilty in court. However, the prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court, which condemned eight activists to death. Only 20 hours later, the activists died even before bidding their families farewell.

April 10, 1997
Choi Jeong-su saw his mother run away when he was 4 years old, an experience that imprinted on him a hatred for the world that brought disastrous results. On this date, Mr. Choi, 20, was sentenced to death for murder.
In particular, Mr. Choi disdained society’s well-to-do. He formed a gang called Makgapa, “The Rambunctious Ones,” with nine other young men who targeted owners of expensive, foreign cars.
Before his execution, Mr. Choi said: “I wanted to kill every single well-to-do man who looks down on the have-nots. This is revenge against the world.”
One of the Rambunctious Ones’ victims was Kim Gyeong-suk, a saloon owner in Gyeonggi province. While she drove home late one night in her 27 million won ($21,000) Honda Accord, the gang kidnapped her, threatening her with a knife. Mr. Choi and two gang members stole her credit cards and 400,000 won in cash, then took her to an abandoned warehouse where they ripped her clothes off and dug a 1.5-meter-deep (5 feet) hollow. Then they buried her alive. The gang was eventually caught for auto theft. Mr. Choi did not resist too much, except for asking the police, “Why are you taking us? We did nothing wrong.” The other members were sentenced to life imprisonment.

April 11, 2001
Movie producer Jang Sun-woo always stood at the edge of avant-garde. His latest product, “Seongnyangpari Sonyeo-ui Jae-rim” (Resurrection of the Little Match Girl), flopped, but it carved itself in Korean movie history with its 9 billion won ($7.2 million) budget. His 1999 production, “Geojinmal” (Lies), created a sensation for depicting sadomasochism between an 18-year- old girl and 38-year-old sculptor. A group opposed to its contents sued in court. On this date, however, the appeal was turned down by the Prosecutor’s Office.
“The content or descriptions in the movie are not so obscene as to deserve a due punishment. The decision is up to the viewers,” said officials.

by Chun Su-jin
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