1973: Kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung – Future Nobel Laureate and Catholic President of South Korea

1973: Kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung – Future Nobel Laureate and Catholic President of South Korea
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 8 August 1973
  • His success in governing South Korea led to the rising popularity of Catholics in this country, so a considerable number of South Koreans converted (in ten years, the number of Catholics in South Korea increased by 70%). During Kim Dae-Jung's mandate, South Korea hosted the FIFA World Cup 2002.

On this day the famous South Korean politician Kim Dae-jung, the later Nobel laureate and president, was kidnapped. 

At that time he was the leader of the opposition against the government of South Korean dictator Park Chung-Hee.

First, a few words about the abducted Kim Dae-jung. He is certainly one of the most important South Koreans of modern times and every Westerner should know something about him. Specifically, Kim Dae-jung came to be called the “Nelson Mandela of Asia” for his significance. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.

During his presidential term from 1998 to 2003, South Korea was democratized, economically recovered, social welfare was improved and it gained greater international importance, especially through the FIFA Football World Cup in 2002. Interestingly, Kim Dae-jung was a Roman Catholic by faith. His success in governing South Korea has led to the rising popularity of Catholics in this country, so a considerable number of South Koreans converted (in ten years, the number of Catholics in South Korea increased by 70%).

On this day in 1973, while South Korea was still ruled by dictatorial government of General Park Chung-Hee, Kim Dae-jung was kidnapped during his stay in Japan. He was abducted from his hotel room at the Grand Palace in Tokyo. Kidnapping was carried out by none other than the South Korean secret service KCIA (the equivalent of the American CIA).

It seems that the service was involved with the yakuza syndicates. In fact, the entire floor of the Grand Palace, except Kim’s room, was leased to the yakuza organization. Kim was dragged into one of the rooms on that floor, drugged and taken on a boat headed towards Korea.

During his Nobel Peace Prize lecture, Kim described the events: “The agents took me to their boat at anchor along the seashore. They tied me up, blinded me, and stuffed my mouth. Just when they were about to throw me overboard, Jesus Christ appeared before me with such clarity. I clung to him and begged him to save me. At that very moment, an airplane came down from the sky to rescue me from the moment of death.”

Indeed, it was the Japanese Navy, in pursuit of the kidnappers. Kim was saved and later was able to become the South Korean president.

Facebook Comments

Related posts