The wife of a prominent South Korean activists who was lured to the North in the 1980s died on Nov. 23, 2008, according to Choi Sung-yong of the Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea. Choi said a source in North Korea saw the death certificate Shin Suk-ja at an organization under the North Korean Health Ministry in Pyongyang. The cause of death was given as cirrhosis of the liver.
That would square with North Korea’s claim that she died of hepatitis, which affects the liver. On April 27, the North Korean permanent mission to the UN sent a letter to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention saying Shin died of the hepatitis that she had been battling since the 1980s but did not disclose the date of her death.
Shin, who was living in Germany with her husband Oh Kil-nam and two daughters, was lured to North Korea with other pro-North Korean figures including composer Yun I-sang in 1985, but the family found themselves in an indoctrination camp. Oh managed to escape alone in 1986, and Shin and her daughters were imprisoned in the notorious Yodok prison camp. The last direct communication from her was a voice tape she sent to Oh through Yun in 1991.