A cold day. January 14, 1987. A nondescript seven-story building in central Seoul, near what is now Namyeong Station. Dr. Oh Yeon-sang was called in to help government officials revive a detainee being interrogated.

He entered the tiny room and saw the body of a young man there, lying motionless. He was young, a college student. He was wet, and there was a tub of water. Dr. Oh immediately performed CPR on him for thirty minutes before giving up. He went outside and told the officers the young man had died. The officers rolled up the young man’s blanket and threw it into an elevator.

South Korea at the time was known internationally to torture political prisoners. But this time it turned out differently. 

Today on The Dark Side of Seoul Podcast, we talk about the death of Park Jeong-chol, what led up to it, and how it sparked the events that led to South Korea’s democracy.

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