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North Korea’s most wanted defector to speak in at Sac City College, UC Davis

North Korean defector Park Sang Hak who defected to the South in 2000, second from right, scuffles with South Korean riot police officers as they pull a North Korean flag while protesters try to burn the flag during an anti-Koreas Summit rally near the President House in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 1, 2007.
North Korean defector Park Sang Hak who defected to the South in 2000, second from right, scuffles with South Korean riot police officers as they pull a North Korean flag while protesters try to burn the flag during an anti-Koreas Summit rally near the President House in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Oct. 1, 2007. AP

Park Sang-Hak, a former North Korean propaganda official who defected and became a champion for a free, democratic North Korea, will speak Friday at Sacramento City College and the University of California, Davis. North Korea branded him “Enemy Zero” after he became head of the Fighters for a Free North Korea and launched balloons carrying pro-democracy leaflets into North Korea from a nearby island in 2012.

In 2011, another North Korean defector was arrested in Seoul for plotting to assassinate Park with a poisoned pen, said South Korea’s Deputy Consul General in San Francisco, Thomas Jung..

In 1999, Park and his brother said they bribed North Korean border guards to let them past and then swam across the Yalu River into China, while their mother and sister floated across in an inner tube, Jung said. Park said his uncle was beaten to death in retaliation for their escape and defection.

Jung will help introduce Park at both events. “The human rights situation in North Korea is so terrible; people compare it with the Gulag under Stalin and Hitler's gas chambers,” Jung said. “But it continues to develop nuclear weapons and all kinds of missiles.”

Park will speak at Sacramento City College PAC 202 at 2 p.m. Friday Sept. 30, and at UC Davis in 1002 Giedt Hall from 6-8 p.m. The Davis event, which also features defectors Kang Chol-Hwan and Dr. Kim Heung-Kwang, is limited to 180 people on a first come first serve basis.

Stephen Magagnini: 916-321-1072, @SteveMagagnini

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