Serving a Father by Bringing Long-Lost Koreans Home

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Choi Sung-Yong remembers his father as a war hero who became a successful fishing boat captain, a reserved man who helped at orphanages and once splurged to buy his music-loving teenage son a record player, a true luxury at the time.

But all the memories are tinged with loss. In 1967, when Mr. Choi was just 15, his father’s boat failed to return from sea. The family went into mourning, assuming the boat had sunk. But three months later they were shocked to learn that Mr. Choi’s father, Choi Won-mo, was alive, but lost to them. His vessel, it turned out, had been captured by North Korea, and when the North Koreans released the crew, they kept Mr. Choi’s father.

In the more than four decades since, Mr. Choi, 57, has devoted himself to trying to find his father and the hundreds of other missing South Koreans believed to have been snatched by North Korean agents.

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