|Birth name||Chung Ryeu Sup|
|Allegiance|| South Korea (1957–1973)|
United States (1973–1979)
North Korea (1979–2004)
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1978–1979 (defected)|
|Rank||Private first class|
Life and disappearance
Chung and his family were South Korean immigrants who arrived in the United States in 1973. According to his father, Chung Soo-oh, he had joined the Army to get 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.
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."
The other five men who disappeared into North Korea did so by directly crossing the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
Claims of abduction
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.
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. They made no major inquiries into the matter because Chung had no access to classified information and was not a security threat.
- List of American and British defectors in the Korean War: the 21 Americans and 1 Briton who refused repatriation during Operation Big Switch in 1953 (to remain in China)
- Larry Allen Abshier (1943–1983) of Urbana, Illinois, deserted in May 1962 at age 19
- James Joseph Dresnok (1941–2016) of Richmond, Virginia, deserted in August 1962 at age 21
- Jerry Wayne Parrish (1944–1998) of Morganfield, Kentucky, deserted in December 1963 at age 19
- Charles Robert Jenkins (1940–2017) of Rich Square, North Carolina, deserted in January 1965 at age 24
- Joseph T. White (1961–1985) of St Louis, Missouri, deserted in August 1982 at age 20
- "South Korean, Who Joined U.S. Army, Reportedly Defected to North Korea", The Washington Post. September 13, 1979. Joe Ritchie and Jaehoon Ahn. A28.