Roy Chung

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Roy Chung
Birth name Chung Ryeu Sup
Born c. 1957
South Korea
Allegiance  South Korea (1957–1973)
United States (1973–1979)
 North Korea (1979–????)
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service ????–1979 (defected)
Rank Army-USA-OR-03-2014.svg Private first class

Roy Chung (born Chung Ryeu Sup) is widely believed to be the fifth of six United States Army servicemen to have defected to North Korea after the Korean War.

Life and disappearance[edit]

Chung was not a natural-born American citizen; he and his family were South Korean immigrants who arrived in the United States in 1973. According to his father Soo-Oh Chung, he had joined the Army to get Army education benefits. He disappeared and was reported AWOL on June 5, 1979 while serving with his unit near Bayreuth, West Germany (about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the borders of Czechoslovakia and East Germany). After 30 days he became classified as a deserter. He was 22 and a Private First Class at the time.[1]

Two months after his disappearance in Europe, North Korea's international broadcasting service Radio Pyongyang (now Voice of Korea) announced his defection, stating that he "could no longer endure the disgraceful life of national insult and maltreatment he had to lead in the U.S. imperialist aggressor Army."[1]

The other five men who disappeared into North Korea did so by directly crossing the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

In 2004, filmmaker Nicholas Bonner (co-creator of the documentary Crossing the Line) reported that he heard Chung had died of natural causes.

Responses: defection or abduction?[edit]

Officials of the United States Department of State and the Pentagon at the time stated that they had no reason to doubt North Korea's claims of defection, and made no major inquiries into the matter because Chung had no access to classified information and was not a security threat. However, Chung's family and Korean-American groups strongly believed that he had been abducted, and was not a defector, as widely believed. They compared his disappearance to several documented abductions by North Korean agents, most notably the kidnap of actress Choi Eun-hee.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Washington Post. September 13, 1979. Joe Ritchie & Jaehoon Ahn. "South Korean, Who Joined U.S. Army, Reportedly Defected to North Korea". A28.

External links[edit]