Children in North win paternity suit in South

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Children in North win paternity suit in South

Seoul Family Court ruled yesterday in favor of four North Korean children who filed a paternity suit against a South Korean man, in an attempt to win the right to inherit part of his fortune.

“Filiations exist between North Korean children and the South Korean men,” the court said yesterday.

It is the first time that a North Korean has won a paternity suit in a South Korean court.

The South Korean man, surnamed Yoon, was married in Sunchon, North Korea, in 1933 and had four children. He left his three children and wife during the Korean War, fleeing to the South only with his eldest daughter.

Yoon remarried a South Korean woman in 1959 and had four more children. Yoon died in 1987 leaving behind a 10 billion won ($8.6 million) fortune. According to his children, Yoon always said he wanted to find his three children in the North and have them inherit part of his fortune.

After Yoon died, the eldest daughter found her siblings in the North, with the help of missionaries who traveled to North Korea.

Informed of their father’s death and his willingness to succession, the three North Korean children filed a paternity lawsuit to argue their right for inheritance.

The Seoul Family Court ordered a paternity test at Severance Hospital, Seoul, and the hospital inspected the paternity through fingernails and hair given by the children.

It took 20 months for the court to rule on the paternity suit.

“We compared DNA from fingernails and hair of the North Koreans with the eldest daughter and other half-brothers and sisters in the South and found Yoon was their father, the court said.

The North Korean children had filed a civil lawsuit against their stepmother and half siblings in South Korea over Yoon’s 10 billion won fortune. The Seoul Central District Court will handle the succession suit.

By Kim Hee-jin []
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