Because North Korea considers itself the only legitimate government of Korea and sees South Koreans as its own citizens, someone with South Korean citizenship is very rarely released. Christians may receive the same cruel and hostile treatment as any North Korean whose faith in Jesus is exposed—including torture, labor camps, and possible execution.
Will you read the short stories of these five Christian prisoners and commit to praying with them as they face unimaginable conditions?
Meet 5 Christian prisoners in North Korea
Kim Jong-Wook (pictured above) is a Baptist missionary who ran underground churches and shelters for North Koreans in China, Kim also helped North Koreans escape to South Korea. According to one of our sources in Seoul, South Korea, Kim went into North Korea looking for information about a group of North Korean women who had escaped to China, were caught and then repatriated back to North Korea from China. He was also seeking information to learn about the food shortages in North Korea. In August 2012, a group of 12 North Korean women were caught by Chinese authorities while they were at Kim’s shelter and sent back to North Korea. His desire to find out what happened to them and learn about a North Korean food shortage led him to enter the country last October, Joo said.
He is accused of allegedly spying, trying to set up underground churches and “malignantly hurting the dignity” of the ruling Kim family. Kim was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to a life of hard labor in 2014. Reports have emerged, indicating that his health situation has deteriorated due to the deplorable conditions he’s facing for his faith—including hard labor, malnutrition and possibly torture.
Kim Kook-Kie, a Christian missionary who ran a shelter in China for North Korean defectors, and Choi Chun-Kil, another Christian missionary, were both arrested in the Chinese border city of Dandong. Accused of “conducting religious propaganda” against North Korea, they were sentenced to hard labor in 2015. Kie’s health is also poor.
Ko Hyon-Chol is a North Korean defector who gained South Korean citizenship, became a missionary and was accused of plotting to kidnap North Korean children who would be sold for adoption in other countries. He was sentenced to a life of hard labor in 2016.
Kim Won-Ho, another North Korean defector who had become a South Korean citizen and a missionary, was abducted in China in March 2016.