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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Biographies

Kim Chang-ryong

Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare

Kim was noted for the fervor of his anticommunist activities and some have linked him to the assassination of Kim Gu in 1949.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KIM CHANG-RYONG (1916-1956). Kim was born to a peasant family in South Hamgyeong Province, now in North Korea. He became a Japanese military police officer, working mainly in counterintelligence in China, in 1940. It is alleged that in this role, he pursued many Korean patriots. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, he returned to North Korea. Later, he claimed to have been twice arrested and sentenced to death in the North but to have escaped each time, before finally escaping to South Korea. There, Kim joined the constabulary, the forerunner of the South Korean army, as a corporal, the same rank he had under the Japanese. However, after attending officer school, he became a lieutenant in April 1948.

He again began to work in counterintelligence, and was involved in the extensive enquiries launched after the Yeosu-Suncheon Rebellion. During this period, he was promoted to major. Kim was noted for the fervor of his anticommunist activities and some have linked him to the assassination of Kim Gu in 1949. He was also closely associated with President Syngman Rhee, and was widely believed to have eliminated a number of Rhee’s opponents. Promoted to colonel on the eve of the Korean War, Kim was also believed to have masterminded the massacre of the members of the National Rehabilitation and Guidance League in the early days of the Korean War.

During the war, Kim became the formal head of South Korea’s military Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC, Dukmudae). In 1953, he became a brigadier, and in 1955 a major general. On 30 January 1956, a group that included members of his own organization assassinated him.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea, by Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).