Foreign Affairs
Death of actress kidnapped by North Korea

A South Korean actress who had been kidnapped by North Korea and forced to take part in films for the State has died at the age of 92.

Choi Eun-hee had been a well-known actress in South Korea. She had been kidnapped during the regime of Kim Jong-il in the late seventies.

Her former husband, Shin Sang-ok, an equally renowned film director, had also been kidnapped some months later. They had both managed to escape.

North Korea had always denied kidnapping the couple.

The actress and Shin Sang-ok, who had eventually got married, were pioneers in this sector, and were renowned. They had divorced towards the end of the seventies, and her career started going downhill. At this stage the actress had been approached by someone who introduced himself as a businessman from Hong Kong, and who had made her a proposal to set up a film company.

When she had travelled to Hong Kong, the actress had been kidnapped by a group of men. Although they had separated, she and her ex-husband had remained in contact. Shin Sang-ok had gone to Hong Kong to look for her, and he was likewise kidnapped.

Eight years later, the North Korean regime had allowed them to travel to Vienna to publicise their films. Whilst there, they had sought asylum at the American Embassy, and returned to South Korea a year later. Her husband had died in 2006.


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