Choi and Shin before their abduction
Choi was bundled into a speedboat in Hong Kong by North Korean agents in 1978
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 – 10:50am
A South Korean film icon who spent eight years as a prisoner of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has died at the age of 91.
How hard is it to escape North Korea?
Choi Eun-hee was born in 1926 and started her career on stage before landing her first film role in the 1947 wartime drama A New Oath.
For the next 20 years, she delighted audiences in a string of award-winning melodramas, romances and historical epics, many of them directed by her husband, Shin Sang-ok
Beloved by millions of South Korean cinemagoers, the star also had one particular fan whose admiration would upend her life – North Korean dictator and avid cinephile Kim Jong Il.
In January 1978, Choi, who had recently divorced Shin, flew to Hong Kong to meet a “producer” – in reality a North Korean agent. As she arrived at the meeting, she was “grabbed by two men, bundled into a speedboat and injected with a sedative, waking up aboard a freighter bound for North Korea”, says the South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, Shin had travelled to Hong Kong to find out what had happened to his ex-wife, where he too was kidnapped by Pyongyang agents.
After two years of “re-education” in a North Korean prison, Shin was brought to Kim and his mission was revealed: he and Choi were to lend their talents to revamping the regime’s stiff and stale cinematic output.
Between 1983 and 1985, the pair – who also agreed to remarry on Kim’s “recommendation” – ran a studio which made 17 films for Kim, “ranging from tear-jerkers to thrillers”, says CNN.
In one of the more surreal moments of her captivity, in 1985 Choi received the …read more
Source:: The Week – All news