Today’s news:

Rockaway man returns after arrest in S. Korea

Sam Song, the Rockaway man who was convicted in South Korea of violating the country’s national security law, returned home to the United States late Saturday night, ending uncertainty about whether he would have to serve his sentence of three years probation in Seoul.

Reached by phone Monday evening, Song deferred comment about his arrest and trial in Seoul, South Korea until Friday, when he was expected to hold a news conference.

Song, 56, a naturalized U.S. citizen who heads a political organization in Flushing, had been held in Seoul since February when he traveled there to testify on behalf of a Japanese man who published a book on the reunification of the Koreas. The book, “Kim Il-Jong’s Strategy for Reunification,” supported the rejoining of North and South Korea, which have been separated since 1948, but under a plan embraced by North Korean President Kim Il-Jong.

In earlier interviews, Song’s children said their father had been involved in Korean politics while in the United States, going so far as to establish a Flushing chapter of a political group that espoused reunification. His political beliefs were what brought him to Korea earlier this year as well as a visit to his brother, who lives in North Korea.

In April, Song was indicted on charges of violating the national security law of South Korea. One count stemmed from his testimony at a hearing on behalf of the Japanese publisher, the other from his visit to North Korea. His daughter, Sarah, said the South Korean government believed her father was a spy.

During Song’s detainment, several elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), became involved in the case, calling for South Korea to release Song if the charges against him only involved his supporting the book.

Immediately after his conviction almost two weeks ago, there was some question about whether Song would be forced to carry out his sentence by living in South Korea, a question that was put to rest with his arrival back home to Rockaway over the weekend.

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

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

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