South Korean journalists released, deported from China

New York, August 28, 2003—South Korean journalists Kim Seung Jin and Geum Myeong Seok were released and deported from China to South Korea after three weeks in detention, according to international news reports.

On August 7, free-lance cameraman Kim and photographer Geum were arrested in Shanghai while accompanying North Korean refugees who were attempting to gain asylum by entering a school run by the Japanese government.

Police also detained Fumiaki Yamada and South Korean citizen Kim Gi Ju, both of whom work with the Japan-based Society to Help Returnees to North Korea (HRNK), as well as seven North Korean refugees, including two children. Yamada and Kim were also released and deported to their respective countries, according to news reports. The fate of the North Koreans is unknown.

Shanghai officials told The Associated Press that the four were deported because they posed a “great threat to security and safety.” The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced today that the three South Koreans had returned to their country.

According to a colleague, Kim, who has spent several months in China reporting on the plight of North Korean refugees, is a free-lance cameraman. Geum is a free-lance photographer. For more information, see CPJ’s August 21 alert.