Gwanaksan-1 Follows Revolutionary Orders

[In the Shadow of the Sun]
Han Ki Hong, President, NKnet  |  2014-07-27 22:33

In May 2010 a call came into 111 Call Center, where the NIS, South Koreas state intelligence agency, accepts civilian reports of threats to national security. The caller asserted something very serious: that remnants of Minhyukdang, an underground pro-North Korea organization that had been active in the 1990s, had returned to their old ways.

Three years later, the report was found to be accurate. A serving National Assemblyman and former Minhyukdang cadre called Lee Seok Ki had, it was said, formed a new Revolutionary Organization. 130 members of this so-called RO had met at a location in Hapjeong-dong, Seoul during May 2013, a time of great inter-Korean tensions. There they had, the court would later acknowledge, discussed concrete means of fomenting unrest and overthrowing the South Korean state in the event of war. Seven men were convicted; appeals are ongoing.

The simple fact that this could take place in contemporary South Korea often comes as a surprise to Daily NK readers, most of whom have never been steeped in the Cold War milieu of the Korean Peninsula. Yet it is just the most recent in a long line of extraordinary tales of infiltration and espionage, as Zeitgeist Publishing House revealed in 2012 when it released Han Ki Hong's The Shadow of Progressivism". The book seized upon a moment in South Korean history, and was enormously successful. In this, the fourth part of an exclusive series of excerpts, Daily NK finds out why.

On March 16th, 1992, Kim Young Hwan (known by his codename, Gwanaksan-1) followed the orders of his North Korean handlers by formally launching the National Democratic Revolutionary Party (NDRP) on the campus of Seoul National University, the countrys premier educational institution. 

The new party, born out of the Anti-Imperialist Youth Alliance that Ha Young Ok (codename Gwangmyungsung) had formed back in 1989 and Kim Young Hwan led from 1990, had two handlers from the Overseas Liaison Department of the Chosun Workers Party: Won Jin Wu and Yoon Taek Rim, the latter of whom had recruited Kim in 1989. 

Modelled after revolutionary parties around the world, but particularly that of North Korea, Kim was made chair of a Central Committee comprised up of himself, Ha, and Park ** (Gwanaksan-3). Sub-committees were then formed to oversee the new party's activities in the regions; there were committees in South Gyeonggi, North Gyeongsang, and North Jeolla, and under each of these were municipal branches for the cities of Seongnam, Busan, Masan & Changwon, and Jeonju. 

Regional committee chairmen reported directly to either Ha, in the case of South Gyeonggi and South Gyeongsang, or Kim, as in the case of North Jeolla. There were also a group of officials dealing with liaison matters: Jo Yu Sik (Gwancheolbong), Kim Kyung Hwan (Gwanmobong), and Sim Jae Chun (Gwangmyungsung-91).

The party also formed units to focus its energies on specific campaigns: these were aimed variously at specific societal groups, such as students, the working class, and women, and at practical goals, such as unification. Outwardly, the entire structure was one of alumni associations and simple businesses, and to join one needed a recommendation for membership from one, or preferably more, existing members, and to pass an ideological exam set by the Central Committee. 

Overview of the NDRP 

Party Mission

- To defend the interests of and speak for the Korean masses, with Kim Il Sung's Juche ideology as the guiding principle. 

- To fight for independence from the U.S., realize democracy, and peacefully reunify the fatherland through the power of laborers, farmers, intellectuals, students, the petit bourgeoisie, and small capitalists.  

- To be the vanguard party of laborers and farmers fighting to achieve national liberation and democratic revolution.  

Party Constitution

- To value people above all else, and evaluate every course of action based on whether it puts people first.

- To live deeply immersed among the masses, together sharing life's joys and sorrows.

- To love one's comrades as oneself. 

- To dedicate one's life to preserving the group. 

- To increase individual autonomy and creativity. 

- To hold sacred the principles of democratic centralism, and maintain a revolutionary sense of duty and camaraderie. 


On April 12, 1992, the group was instructed to retrieve operational funds and equipment that North Korean agents had left for them on Gangwha Island (marked in image above. Image: Google Maps), the same island off the west coast of the peninsula from which Kim had departed for Haeju in spring the previous year. Travelling out to Waepo, a village on the southwest of the island, Jo Yu Shik dug up no less than USD $400,000 (approximately 300mn South Korean Won at the time), two handguns and ammunition, two radio receivers, and a codebook needed for sending reports.

This money was promptly deposited in an account in Jos name and used to fund the NDRP. 200mn won was earmarked for organizational expenses, activities, and promotional materials, 45mn won for campaign funds, and 37mn won for Central Committee activities. The last 18mn won remained in Jo Yu Shik's bank account. According to a National Intelligence Service investigation, every two months Ha Young Ok would receive 4mn won for his work; in total he received 100mn won, most of which he then passed on to others further down the organizational chart. 

The 45mn won campaign war chest was spent on supporting six candidates in municipal and provincial elections in 1995, and between 5mn and 10mn won on a number of candidates standing for the National Assembly elections in 1996, most notably Cho Jin Won in South Gyeongsang Province

Throughout its existence, the NDRP worked to spread the Juche ideology through 14 issues of the publication "Light," received 98 separate orders via North Korea's A-3 broadcasting system, and gathered and reported back on national secrets. 

To achieve this latter objective, between July and October 1991 Kim Young Hwan and Jo Yu Shik, one of the party liaisons with North Korea and a writer for the publication Mal, spent many days in the National Assembly Library on Yeouido, Seoul. There, they immersed themselves in military texts, including the yearbooks of the defense research organization Jane's and the South Korean annual National Defense White Paper. 

They then wrote articles for Mal with titles like "The U.S.' 120-Day Korean Peninsula War Scenario," "The 40-Year Arms Race Between North and South," and "The North Has No Capacity to Invade the South." Though these were publicly available, their true goal was to specifically report Kim and Jo's findings to the North. In addition to this, in March 1992 they started traveling as journalists or tourists to China, Russia, Singapore, and Vietnam in order to report their findings directly to North Korean operatives, one of whom was Yoon Taek Rim. They received USD $7000 in additional operational funds via these trips.

To be continued

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