Ahn Myeong Cheol was a prison guard in the North Korean regime’s brutal gulag, who escaped to South Korea and became a human rights activist. Born in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, he was the only one chosen in his district, at age 18, to become a political prison camp guard. Throughout his service, Ahn was subjected to heavy brain-washing into believing that political prisoners were enemies of the state unworthy of sympathy. He worked for a total of eight years in four different camps. These camps were all designated as total control zones, which prohibit the release of prisoners under any circumstances. Since his escape, Ahn has become a North Korean human rights activist. He has provided testimony at the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK and is now the executive director of the organization NK Watch.
Gim Gyumin was born in Hwanghae Province in North Korea in 1974. In North Korea, he witnessed many human rights violations such as public executions, arbitrary detention, sexual violations, famine, etc. He fled North Korea in 1999 but was arrested in China and repatriated to North Korea. He escaped from North Korea again in 2000 and finally entered South Korea in 2001. In South Korea, he majored drama and film in Hanyang University and started his career as a film director. He directed many films about North Korean human rights. Since he is an eye-witness and victim of human rights violations in North Korea, he has integrated these real tragedies into his movies.
Mr. Kim was dispatched to Russia as a North Korean overseas worker in 2000. While he was working at the logging site in Russia, he received only $130 as a monthly salary since the North Korean government took almost 95% of his salary for the state fund to strengthen the dictatorship. He worked every day from 8am to 12am or even to 3am without having any breaks or rest. The only holiday he could have was the New Year’s Day. Since he could not endure this inhuman treatment by the North Korean authorities any more, he escaped the work site in 2002 and finally entered South Korea in 2013.