© Inho Shin
On November 3rd, Yongsan Ward Office in Seoul announced that it had discovered official documents of the Military Commission Order #2, #3, and #5 written by the United States Military Court in 1948. The documents officially prove that the political activist Kim Du-han was imprisoned in the 7th Division of the US Army, which was deployed in Yongsan at the time.
Among the three documents discovered, the Order #3 states that "the 7th Infantry Division Stockade, Seoul, Korea, is designated as the place of confinement." It is then affirmed as the "command of Lieutenant General Hodge." Besides, the Order #5 notes that "the execution [of Kim Du-han] will be withheld pending the confirmation of the action by the Commander-in-Chief, Far East."
The official documents were discovered by Kim Cheon-su, Head of History and Culture Research Department of Yongsan Cultural Center. The Digital Resource Library of the National Institute of Korean History was where he spotted the documents. Kim said, "It is remarkable to see how the official records of US Armed Forces in Korea confirm the imprisonment of Kim Du-han, because the only records available so far have been newspaper articles." The official documents discovered by Kim Cheon-su are expected to offer significant insights into the modern history of Korea.
In Korea, Kim Du-han is rather known as his nickname, "General's Son." Born as a son of Korean independence activist General Kim Jwa-jin, Kim spent his early life as a part of an organized gang in Jongno, Seoul. Many of his fights were directed against the mistreatments of Korean merchants by the Japanese colonial power residing in Korea.
After the independence of Korea on August 15th, 1945, Kim Du-han worked as Chief of Inspection of the Korea Democratic Youth Organization, a right-wing organization established by fellow political activists like Kim Gu and Ree Syng-man. On April 20th, 1947, Kim and his crews murdered members of leftist Choseon Youth Front, which led Kim to be arrested and imprisoned in the 7th Infantry Division of the US Army.
As Ree Syng-man became the first president of the Republic of Korea along with the establishment of Korean government in 1948, Rhee granted Kim Du-han a special amnesty. Kim was then released from imprisonment. Despite having experience as a prisoner, Kim lived his life to the fullest by winning elections and actively participating politically. He later died at the age of 55 in 1972.