Unearthing War's Horrors Years Later in South Korea

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Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, Kim Man-sik, a military police sergeant, received an urgent radio message from the South Korean Army’s Counterintelligence Corps: Go to local police stations, take custody of scores of Communist suspects held there and execute them.

Mr. Kim complied. What he did and saw in those days is etched permanently in his mind.

“They were all tied together with military communications wire,” said Mr. Kim, now 81. “So when we opened fire, they all pulled at each other to try to escape. The wire cut into their wrists. Blood was splattered all over their white clothes.”

That Mr. Kim’s story has emerged after half a century is a testament to this nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, modeled after the South African group set up in the 1990s to expose crimes and injustices committed during the apartheid era.

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