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 29 November 1987- Korean Air Flight 858 
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Post 29 November 1987- Korean Air Flight 858
The two agents, acting upon orders from the North Korean government, planted the device in an overhead storage bin before disembarking from the aircraft during the first stop-over in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. While the aircraft was flying over the Andaman Sea to its second stop-over in Bangkok, Thailand, the bomb detonated and destroyed the Korean Air Boeing 707-3B5C. Everybody on board the aircraft, including the 104 passengers and 11 crew members, most of whom were South Koreans, were killed. The attack occurred 34 years after the Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War on 27 July 1953.

The two bombers were traced to Bahrain, where they both attempted to smoke cigarettes laced with cyanide when they realised they were about to be taken into custody. The male of the pair died, but the female, Kim Hyon Hui, confessed to the bombing. She was sentenced to death after being put on trial for the attack, but was later pardoned by the President of South Korea, Roh Tae-woo. Kim's testimony implicated Kim Jong-il, former leader of North Korea, to be ultimately responsible for the incident. The United States Department of State specifically refers to the bombing of KAL 858 as a "terrorist act" and, until 2008, listed North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The escape route, she said, was to be from Abu Dhabi via Amman to Rome, but the pair were diverted to Bahrain due to visa complications.[4] She added that she had been travelling undercover with Kim Sung Il for three years preparing for the attack.[6] Kim told investigators that when she was sixteen, she was chosen by the North Korean Communist Party and trained in a number of languages.[6] Three years later, she was educated at a secret and elite espionage school run by the North Korean Army, where she was trained to kill with her hands and feet and how to use rifles and grenades.[6] Training at the school involved enduring several years of gruelling physical and psychological conditioning. In 1987, aged 25, Kim was ordered to detonate a bomb aboard a South Korean jetliner, an attack that she was told would reunify her divided country forever.[6]

In January 1988, Kim announced at a press conference held by the Agency for National Security Planning, the South Korean secret services agency, that both she and her partner were North Korean operatives. She said that they had left a radio containing 350 grams of C-4 explosive and a liquor bottle containing approximately 700 ml of PLX explosive in an overhead rack in the passenger cabin of the aircraft. Kim expressed remorse at her actions and asked for the forgiveness of the families of those who had died. She also said that the order for the bombing had been "personally penned" by Kim Jong-il, the son of North Korean President Kim Il-sung, who had wanted to destabilize the South Korean government, disrupt its upcoming 1988 parliamentary elections, and frighten international teams from attending the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul later that year.[12] "It is natural that I should be punished and killed a hundred times for my sin," she said.[5] Writing in The Washington Post on 15 January 1988, journalist Peter Maass stated that it was not clear to him if Kim was coerced in her remarks or was motivated by remorse for her actions.[13] Kim was subsequently sentenced to execution for the bombing of KAL 858, but she was later pardoned by the President of South Korea, Roh Tae-woo.[8] “The persons who ought to be on trial here are the leaders of North Korea," he said. "This child is as much a victim of this evil regime as the passengers aboard KAL 858.

Just sayin'

Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:55 pm
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