S.Korean Activist 'Tortured' in China

Kim Young-hwan speaks in a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. Kim Young-hwan speaks in a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.

A South Korean activist who was detained in China for 114 days says he was tortured by Chinese security forces. Kim Young-hwan (49), who helps North Koreans escape, made the allegation in a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.

"I received a lot of brutal treatment including physical restraint and sleep deprivation while I was detained there," he said but did not go into detail.

"In return for my release, China forced me to admit that I violated Chinese laws and promise not to reveal the brutal treatment I suffered there when I return to South Korea," he said.

"I did not find out what I was charged with until I was released," Kim added. He said Chinese police in interrogation forced him to "tell everything."

Kim denied espionage, which is suggested by the Chinese charge of endangering national security. "I never engaged in any hostile acts against China or gathered any information about China," he said.

Kim was denied access to a lawyer despite being charged with a crime that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The Foreign Ministry in Seoul said it is taking Kim's allegations seriously.

"We first heard from Kim about the Chinese authorities' brutality during his second face-to-face interview with a Korean consular officer on June 11," a ministry official said. "Right after the interview, we asked Chinese officials to confirm facts and have since told them we will lodge a strong protest if they turn out to be true."

But China reportedly denied the allegations.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 26, 2012 11:03 KST

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