A judge in South Korea is expected to reach a verdict early next week in the trial of a Rockaway man who was arrested in Seoul in February and charged with supporting the publication of a book on reunifying the Koreas, a spokesman for the Korean consulate in New York said Tuesday.
Kang Soo Seo, the consulate spokesman, said the judge is deciding whether Sam Song, 56, is guilty of violating the countrys national security law. If found guilty, Song could receive no jail time, though in that case he would be required to remain in Seoul, his daughter, Sarah, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
First reported in February by the Korean Times, a Korean-language daily newspaper based in Queens, Songs case had increasingly attracted attention from elected officials like U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Song was arrested in Seoul on Feb. 26 when he testified at the trial of a Japanese man who published a book on the reunification of the Koreas, a plan supported by North Korean President Kim Il-Jung.
Banned in South Korea, the book, Kim Il-Jungs Strategy for Reunification, discusses reunifying the Koreas, which have been separated since 1948. In April, an indictment was handed up formally charging Song with two counts of violating the national security law of South Korea. Song established a small organization headquartered in Flushing that supports the reunification plan.
The second count of the indictment stemmed from Songs traveling to North Korea to visit his younger brother. They think hes a spy because he went to North Korea, his daughter said.
Throughout the trial, Song has been free on bail and has lived with his older brother in Seoul. Sarah, 15, said that things have been hectic around the house and at the card-and-gift shop her parents own in Brooklyn, without her father.
He calls once every other day, she said. He says to listen to my mom and read books. He asks us what he should bring home from Korea because he thinks there is a good chance hes going to come home.
Seo, the consulate spokesman, declined to speculate on how he thought the judge was likely to rule, saying he will wait until a verdict is reached. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State in Washington did not return a call seeking comment.
If Song, a naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived here for 19 years, is found guilty and is required to live in South Korea, it will be difficult for his three children and wife to visit him, Sarah said, since no one would be around to run the family store.
But, Sarah said of her mother: She became stronger than she was before. She learned how to handle things. I think shes gained a lot of leadership.
Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2001 Community News Group
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