[Excerpt: "An officer ordered me to select 50 healthy female prisoners.
One of the guards handed me a basket full of soaked cabbage, told me not
to eat it but to give it to the 50 women," Sun Ok Lee said, according to
the BBC statement.]
N. Korea Tests Weapons on People, Gases Inmates-BBC
Sat January 31, 2004 07:13 PM ET
(Page 1 of 2)
By Peter Apps
LONDON (Reuters) - A program made by Britain's BBC says North Korea is
killing political prisoners in experimental gas chambers and testing new
chemical weapons on women and children.
Titled "Access to Evil" and being aired on Sunday, the program features
an official North Korean document that says political prisoners are used
to test new chemical weapons.
In a statement, the BBC said the documentary included comments by Kwon
Hyuk, a new name given to a former military attache at the North Korean
embassy in Beijing and chief of management at Prison Camp 22.
Using a drawing, he describes a gas chamber and the victims he says he
saw at the prison in the northeast of the secretive communist state,
near the Russian border.
"I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in
the gas chamber. The parents, son and a daughter. The parents were
vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save
kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing," he said.
"Normally, a family sticks together (in the gas chamber)... and
individual prisoners stand separately around the corners. Scientists
observe the entire process from above, through the glass."
Asked how he felt about the children, he said: "It would be a total lie
for me to say I felt sympathetic about the children dying such a painful
death. Under the society and the regime I was in at the time, I only
felt that they were the enemies. So I felt no sympathy or pity for them
The documentary for the BBC's "This World" series was to be broadcast at
9 p.m. (2100 GMT).
North Korean officials in London were unavailable to comment. BBC
journalist Olenka Frenkiel told Reuters she had three independent
confirmations that Kwon Hyuk was genuine.
The human rights group Amnesty International said it had been unable to
confirm previous reports of such testing.
"We have heard of these allegations but we cannot confirm them," a
North Korea -- described by President Bush as part of an "axis of evil"
because of a nuclear weapons program and authoritarian system -- has
denied accusations of human rights abuses.
A top-secret North Korean document also says political prisoners are
used for "human biological experimentation and for production of
biological weapons," the BBC said.
It interviews a person said to be a former prisoner in North Korea who
had been ordered to poison others.
"An officer ordered me to select 50 healthy female prisoners. One of the
guards handed me a basket full of soaked cabbage, told me not to eat it
but to give it to the 50 women," Sun Ok Lee said, according to the BBC
"All who ate the cabbage leaves started violently vomiting blood and
screaming with pain. It was hell. In less than 20 minutes, they were
Frenkiel said she had also seen other official North Korean documents,
one of which referred to the transfer of a prisoner "for the purpose of
human experimentation of liquid gas for chemical weapons" in February 2002.