Sections

Queens man convicted of defying S. Korea law

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

A Rockaway man who had been held in South Korea since February on charges he violated the country’s national security law by supporting the publication of a controversial book was convicted last week and sentenced to three years probation, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said Friday.

Sam Song, a 56-year-old man who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and opened a chapter of a political club in Flushing, was found guilty by a judge in Seoul, South Korea, of three counts of violating the country’s law, said the spokeswoman, Karolina Walkin.

Since February, Song had been held in Seoul after traveling there to testify on behalf of a Japanese man who published a book supporting the reunification of the Koreas, which have been separated since 1948. In particular, the book supported a plan embraced by North Korean President Kim Il Jung.

It was not clear whether Song’s sentence would have to be carried out in South Korea, Walkin said.

Another State Department official, Valerie Chittenden, said Monday that post-trial procedures were still underway in South Korea.

Chittenden said she was under the impression that South Korea was considering allowing Song to return to the United States, but she could not say for sure what the country will decide.

Song’s daughter, Ann, said Monday her family is expecting Song to come home Sunday if all goes well. He calls every week from South Korea and seems to be doing fine, she said.

“I kind of think it’s not his fault,” Ann Song said. “All he did was say ‘this is a good book.’”

Reported first by the Korean Times in February, Song’s case had attracted growing attention from elected officials like U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) after learning of Song’s arrest on Feb. 26 when he testified at a trial on behalf of the publisher.

In April, an indictment was handed up charging Song with two counts of violating the national security of law of South Korea. The first involved his support of the book, “Kim Il-Jung’s Strategy for Reunificat­ion,” while the second stemmed from his traveling to North Korea to visit his younger brother. Song’s daughter, Sarah, said in an earlier interview that the South Korean government thought he was a spy.

Throughout his trial, Song was released on bail and lived with his older brother in Seoul. The couple owns a card-and-gift shop in Brooklyn, Sarah said.

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group