7:08 am Wed Apr 20, 2016
Before 1988 Olympics, South Korea sent 'vagrants' to camps where rape and murder were routine
In the runup to the 1988 Olympics, the South Korean government ordered Seoul's "vagrants" to be cleared from the street. Thousands of people, many of them small children, were sent to a "welfare facility" called "Brothers Home," where they were subject to vicious, often fatal beatings and routine rape. The order to round up the vagrants came from then-President Park Chung-hee (father of current President Park Geun-hye) whose successor, President Chun Doo-hwan, suppressed any investigation into the atrocities.
In a remarkable and chilling piece of investigative journalism, the AP's Kim Tong-Hyung and Foster Klug collected first-person accounts of the camp's brutality, including those of former inmate Lee Chae-sik, a trustee who had "extraordinary access" as assistant to the camp's chief enforcer.
The people in the camp were put to slave labor, forced to produce goods that ended up in the supply chains of multinationals like Daewoo, who sent their own staff to supervise the slaves' training.
The camp's inmates were homeless people, but also many disabled people and young children. Also represented were college students who were disappeared from public life after participating in anti-government activism.
This is not the only official tale of modern slavery from South Korea: a 2015 report detailed slave labor facilities that victimized people with developmental delays, which had run for decades and continued to operate, despite frequent exposes.
The Olympics -- whose executive committee included the disgraced fraudster Sepp Blatter until less than a year ago -- have a reputation for locating their events in places were local strongmen will assist in ethnic cleansing, corporate brand-censorship, and even -- as was the case with the London summer games -- siting surface-to-air missiles on residential roofs and reserving lanes on public roads for the use of Olympic sponsors.
AP: S. Korea covered up mass abuse, killings of 'vagrants' [Kim Tong-Hyung and Foster Klug/AP]