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North Korea soccer coach fears for his life


rdroze

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What I can't believe is that they actually showed the Portugal game live. Brutal.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/article/842235--north-korea-soccer-coach-fears-for-his-life

North Korea soccer coach fears for his life

Cathal Kelly Staff Reporter

First, they were made to listen to a public airing of their faults. Then they had to turn around en masse and do the same thing to their disgraced coach, who may not be long for this world.

New reports are leaking out of North Korea about the national soccer team’s humiliating return home after losing all three of their matches at the recent World Cup.

No one expected North Korea to do well – except, apparently, the leadership apparatus of North Korea.

Embarrassment was compounded when, after a competitive 2-1 opening loss to five-time champions Brazil, the country’s despotic leadership took the unprecedented step of broadcasting the team’s second game on live television. North Korea’s 7-0 loss to Portugal was one of the most lopsided in tournament history.

According to early reports, the North Korean play-by-play team stopped speaking during the second half of the broadcast. The match went unreported in the next day’s newspapers.

In a country that takes perverse delight in punishing its most loyal servants, you could smell the payback coming.

It apparently arrived on July 2, shortly after the North Koreans returned home.

The 23-man roster – minus its two Japanese-based ringers, Jong “Weepy” Tae-se and An Yong-hak – was hauled up on stage in front of 400 attendees at the inaptly named People’s Palace of Culture.

The audience included a large number of university students and athletes, as well as high party officials.

For the next six hours, players were reprimanded for failures in their play, according to a jarring report from Radio Free Asia.

This included a damning player-by-player appraisal of individual mistakes in play, provided by the country’s leading sports broadcaster.

More alarmingly, they were accused of “betraying” the country in the “great ideological struggle.”

After the players received their collective rollicking, the team was then forced to round on its coach, Kim Jong-hun.

Things were far worse for Kim.

He was accused of “betraying the young General Kim Jong-un,” the shadowy son of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.

Though no adult photos exist of Kim Jong-un, he is thought to be his seriously ill father’s heir apparent. A nascent personality cult is quickly building up around him in North Korea.

When the team first qualified for the World Cup several months ago, the success was chalked up nationwide as “young General Kim Jong-un’s accomplishment.”

The ominous linking of coach Kim with future leader Kim means the soccer manager’s “safety is in jeopardy,” according to RFA.

In recent months, North Korea has executed two top officials – one who oversaw a recent disastrous currency revaluation and another in charge of diplomatic talks with South Korea. Both were subjected to the same sort of accusations of treachery before they faced the firing squad.

Rumours abound that coach Kim has been expelled from the Worker’s Party and forced into the construction industry as a labourer.

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Problem on defecting probably in a North Korean context is what happens to the rest of your family.

True, but I figured some of the young one would try, ones with out wives and kids.

Cuban Baseball players do it leaving family usually kids and a wife behind, yes they won't be executed, but you don't get to see them anymore.

I know it isn't a simple thing to do, but either is living in North Korea, so I figured you have 25 North Koreans together outside of North Korea; that a couple of them would of made a dash for it. Maybe they had some security around there team to make sure that didn't happen as to me its not far-fetched to think some would want to take that path.

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Forget wives and kids, they'd execute parents and siblings for treason if any of the players defected. Ugh, just thinking about Kim Jung-Il and others like him makes me sick. I can't believe there are "human beings" that would so blatantly abuse their power and treat their brethren with such inhumanity.

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I think we should treat these reports with an appropriate amount of scepticism. As much as North Korea is a brutal, repressive regime there is also a lot of anti-North Korea propaganda as well. The source for this info is "reports" leaking out of NK as reported by the American propaganda radio station, "Radio Free Asia". Such stations while reporting a lot of news to countries whose citizens wouldn't hear it otherwise also report an awful lot of untruths and propaganda. I am also sceptical that a station which is the sworn enemy of NK has such good journalistic contacts within the country that they can report what went on in a meeting that if it actually happened would have had an audience of regime insiders. The spy agencies might have such contacts but if that is the source of the info I don't necessarily trust the spy agencies to tell me the truth. I think we can all remember numerous examples of claims about dictators and regimes that the Americans went up against that later proved to be untrue, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and participation in 911 being the best example. I am not saying this isn't true but before I start posting about how bad the North Korean's are treating their soccer players and coaches I am going to have to hear the info from a much better source than this.

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FIFA should at least threaten them with a ban.

Why because Cathoder Kelly sucks the tit of Hill and Knowlten?

Seriously, this guy has simply made stuff up/grossly exaggerated stuff before and can't be trusted.

It may be true, I don't know. But that is the whole point, we don't know. The public's questionless buy in to all the crap surrounding North Korea during the world cup was shameful.

I am not defending a country run by arseholes. But as long as the system of lying is in place we can't even start to look at the other countries run by arseholes that that system ignores.

How many times do we have to go through this cycle before people start at to least take it with a grain of salt.

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Why because Cathoder Kelly sucks the tit of Hill and Knowlten?

Seriously, this guy has simply made stuff up/grossly exaggerated stuff before and can't be trusted.

It may be true, I don't know. But that is the whole point, we don't know. The public's questionless buy in to all the crap surrounding North Korea during the world cup was shameful.

I am not defending a country run by arseholes. But as long as the system of lying is in place we can't even start to look at the other countries run by arseholes that that system ignores.

How many times do we have to go through this cycle before people start at to least take it with a grain of salt.

Your part of the same group of people that didn't believe Andres Escobar was assassinated over his own goal.

Yeah, take with a grain of salt, but that also doesn't mean dismiss it as propaganda, its not like this would be the first time it has happened. It may not be 100% accurate as everything that comes of that country isn't, but to say this is far fetched and misleading is a little bit much. We all saw the writing on the walls when NK put the Portugal game live and they got smoked 7-0.

I think your defense of us speculating on a meaningless message board is a little odd, we know this is a journalistic article and that some bias may be shown doesn't mean we can't discuss it as what if it is true or has some truth to it. (which I believe there is some truth to it.) Maybe he won't face firing squad, but I really wouldn't doubt if he finds himself in a labour camp for awhile to pay off the debt of his so-called treason

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Your part of the same group of people that didn't believe Andres Escobar was assassinated over his own goal.

Yeah, take with a grain of salt, but that also doesn't mean dismiss it as propaganda, its not like this would be the first time it has happened. It may not be 100% accurate as everything that comes of that country isn't, but to say this is far fetched and misleading is a little bit much. We all saw the writing on the walls when NK put the Portugal game live and they got smoked 7-0.

I think your defense of us speculating on a meaningless message board is a little odd, we know this is a journalistic article and that some bias may be shown doesn't mean we can't discuss it as what if it is true or has some truth to it. (which I believe there is some truth to it.) Maybe he won't face firing squad, but I really wouldn't doubt if he finds himself in a labour camp for awhile to pay off the debt of his so-called treason

Maybe the CSA could outsource the same labor camp!

I don't think I am part of any 'group'.

I am not really talking about the article itself. It's the pattern of stuff that keeps coming out and is just taken at face value.

I don't think the Escobar case had a phalanx of PR companies manipulating public opinion.

This stuff goes on constantly, I am just taking an extra exception to it because of months of it and the connection to soccer.

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Your part of the same group of people that didn't believe Andres Escobar was assassinated over his own goal.

Yeah, take with a grain of salt, but that also doesn't mean dismiss it as propaganda, its not like this would be the first time it has happened. It may not be 100% accurate as everything that comes of that country isn't, but to say this is far fetched and misleading is a little bit much. We all saw the writing on the walls when NK put the Portugal game live and they got smoked 7-0.

I think your defense of us speculating on a meaningless message board is a little odd, we know this is a journalistic article and that some bias may be shown doesn't mean we can't discuss it as what if it is true or has some truth to it. (which I believe there is some truth to it.) Maybe he won't face firing squad, but I really wouldn't doubt if he finds himself in a labour camp for awhile to pay off the debt of his so-called treason

This is really a ridiculous post comparing this incident to the Escobar one. In the Escobar incident we have a dead body, credible witnesses of the shooting, the confession of a cartel member of the killing and his conviction on murder. Additionally, the US was not involved in a propaganda war with the country of Colombia. Here we have a complete lack of evidence, a report based on rumours from a propaganda radio station. This is not just from Cathal Kelly but is all over the news/internet yet every article referrences the same Radio Free Asia report as its source. Radio Free Asia has among its mandates, "advancing the goals of U.S. foreign policy." The story may or may not be true but before we start talking about "How terrible North Korea is to do something like this" I sure want to see some better evidence that it is indeed true.

Here is the original RFA report. Note that the source is a "Chinese businessman" whose knowledge is not first hand but from information he has supposedly heard from "senior North Korean officials". The following line is particularly interesting: “There are rumors that coach Kim Jung Hun has been expelled from the Workers’ Party, or that he has been sent to perform forced labor at a residential building construction site in Pyongyang, but such rumors are hard to verify,” the source said. They admit the reports are rumours and are hard to verify but yet it was apparently enough to get printed as fact in most major western news sources.

World Cup Team Shamed, Reprimanded

2010-07-28

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/worldcup-07282010173446.html

North Korea’s coach is excoriated in a public meeting.

Yonhap News Agency

North Korean players grieve after giving up a goal to Portugal during the 2010 World Cup, June 21, 2010.

SEOUL—North Korea’s soccer team got an official reprimand for losing all three of its World Cup matches, and the national coach could now be in danger for “betraying” the Stalinist country’s heir apparent, knowledgeable sources have said.

The players were summoned on July 2, on returning to Pyongyang, to a large auditorium at the Working People’s Culture Palace and subjected to a “grand debate” and criticism that they failed in the “ideological struggle,” according to a Chinese businessman.

Players “who participated in the World Cup were subjected to a session of harsh ideological criticism, with the exception of [Korean-Japanese players] Jung Tae Se and An Yong Hak,” the businessman said, citing senior North Korean officials.

They took the stage before more than 400 people, including the sports minister Park Myoung Chul and a deputy director of the Workers’ Party Organization and Guidance Department.

Players were then criticized by other athletes and a sports commentator and required to criticize head coach Kim Jong Hun.

The Chinese trader said in an interview that how the players were reprimanded and what kind of punishment they received wasn’t known.

‘Betraying Gen. Kim’

“There were about 400 participants at this closed-door meeting, including athletes from various organizations under the umbrella of the Ministry of Sports, and students from Pyongyang University, Kim Il Sung University, and Kim Hyong Jik School of Education,” he said.

According to another source in Shinuiju, the meeting lasted six hours and coach Kim Jung Hun’s safety could be in jeopardy, as he was publicly accused of “betraying the Young Gen. Kim Jong Un,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s anointed heir.

“There are rumors that coach Kim Jung Hun has been expelled from the Workers’ Party, or that he has been sent to perform forced labor at a residential building construction site in Pyongyang, but such rumors are hard to verify,” the source said.

According to the same sources, the sports commentator who covered World Cup games was present, and noted sports commentator Ri Dong Kyu was tasked to point out the shortcomings of each of the players, and subsequently criticize them.

According to multiple sources in North Korea, as soon as the North Korean soccer team qualified to the World Cup, Workers’ Party meetings and lectures for students were organized to celebrate “Young Gen. Kim Jong Un’s accomplishment.”

Forty-four years after its first World Cup appearance, North Korea made it to a World Cup again, just to be demolished in a painful 7-0 loss to Portugal.

The top two teams in each Asian group automatically qualify for the 32-team final tournament, while the top third-place teams play off for a chance at another spot.

Original reporting by Moon Sung-hui for RFA’s Korean service. Korean service director: Max Kwak. Written for the Web by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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I remember the Escobar shooting vividly in fact wtached an E-30 on it last night.

It wasn't as clear cut as you put it, yes it is now, but its 16 years later. I didn't use the Escobar shooting as acomparison for what has happened but that the fact of the reports were every unclear at first, like it seems this is as well.

I don't fully believe it either till I see evidence, but to completely dismiss it as rumors, well I'm not that naive. Maybe it's cause I've heard stories and stories from cousins and family about growing up in a 3rd world country where media can be manipulated for the good and bad. And what leaders are actually capable of in there own countries that have so little contact with the rest of the world.

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The Escobar case was completely clear cut right from the beginning. It wasn't clear who was behind it although criminal organizations were a strong suspect. However, it was clear that Escobar was dead and it was pretty hard not to suspect that it had a lot to do with the own goal. In that case we had an event that clearly happened with strong indications that it was soccer related and with the mafia as the prime suspect. In this case we have no evidence that the claimed event has even happened.

We also have stories and stories of the media being manipulated in 1st world countries. And we should treat this like a rumour because that is precisely what it is. Some rumours are false and some are true, this could be either. What bothers me though is that this is not being reported as a rumour but as fact throughout the media. It was also being discussed on this thread as if it was fact. The agencies who put stuff like this out are perfectly aware that if they push it hard enough at the beginning, half the people still believe it afterwards even if at some time it turns out to be false. Some of the lies we were told about Iraq that are still widely believed are proof of this.

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It pains me to say this, but I saw this coming.

Which means its probably not true. It's all just a little too obvious. And a little too Hollywood.

True, but I figured some of the young one would try, ones with out wives and kids.

Cuban Baseball players do it leaving family usually kids and a wife behind, yes they won't be executed, but you don't get to see them anymore.

I know it isn't a simple thing to do, but either is living in North Korea, so I figured you have 25 North Koreans together outside of North Korea; that a couple of them would of made a dash for it. Maybe they had some security around there team to make sure that didn't happen as to me its not far-fetched to think some would want to take that path.

Another difference is that Cuban baseballers could make millions of $$ if they defect. The North Korean footballers would struggle. Which leads me to my next point: we don't have any idea what kind of quality of life they have back home. It's possible that they and their families are being treated well because their "job" directly influences Kim Jung-Il's image among the people of that country.

One thing that's indisputable though: it is awesome that this match was broadcast live in North Korea! :D

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