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Aged Korean prisoner in Japan wants to serve others.

TOKYO, Sept. 3 Kyodo

An imprisoned 70-year-old Korean resident of Japan who is scheduled to be paroled next Tuesday expressed his desire Friday to serve others in the time remaining in his life, his guarantor said.

"I fought with people in Japan who bullied weak people, but I was not fighting against all Japanese people," Kim Hui Ro, who is serving a life sentence for killing two Japanese in anger over discrimination against Koreans in Japan, was quoted by Park Sam Joong as saying.

Park, 57, a Buddhist monk residing in the South Korean port city of Pusan, was making his last visit to Kim prior to his parole at a prison in the Tokyo suburb of Fuchu.

"I want to thank the people to whom I feel debts of gratitude after my release. I want to spend the rest of my life serving others," Kim was quoted as saying.

Kim will fly to South Korea immediately after being set free -- an arrangement that the justice ministries and diplomatic authorities from both countries said is legally possible, according to Park.

In Japan, prisoners on parole normally have to go through a monitoring period before being granted full release. But parolees with foreign nationality may opt to return to their home countries.

Park, who became involved in activities to support Kim around 1990, said he has visited Kim in jail more than 30 times.

He also went last summer to a hot-spring inn in Shizuoka Prefecture where Kim holed himself up after killing the two men in February 1968.

During the visit, the owner of the inn asked Park to return to Kim a wristwatch the prisoner had handed over as a token of apology.

"It's a self-winding watch, so it had stopped...I'm planning to give it back to him inside the airplane to Pusan after his release (on Tuesday)," Park said.

"I'd like him to consider his unfortunate youth as his first life and the time he spent in prison as his second life and begin leading his third life when the watch starts moving again," the monk said.

On Feb. 20, 1968, Kim fatally shot a Japanese gangster and another man in Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, in central Japan, after the two pressured him to repay loans they had extended to him.

Later that day, he fled by car to the town of Honkawane, where he holed himself up at a hot spring inn. Armed with dynamite, he took 13 people hostage at the inn before being arrested four days later.

During the tense four-day standoff with police, Kim demanded the Japanese people apologize for discriminating against Korean residents in Japan.

The Shizuoka District Court sentenced Kim to life imprisonment for murder and seven other charges in June 1972, a ruling that the Supreme Court upheld in November 1975.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 6, 1999
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