Oh Kil-nam

Whenever North Koreans make their way to the DC area I do my best to interview them on Google Earth to learn more about the land from which they came.

Last week, Dr. Oh Kil-nam (featured in the video above) was gracious enough to speak with me for a few minutes to tell me about his life in Pyongyang. Although many defectors are hesitant about the details of their lives being made public, Dr. Oh gave me permission to post the information here. Because he only spent a year in Pyongyang, and had never really looked at satellite imagery before, he did not have much to share. What he did say, however, I post below for historical purposes:

Dr. Oh lived on Changgwang Street in Central Pyongyang in the building just south of the Koryo Hotel:

Dr. Oh worked at a radio station that broadcast propaganda into South Korea. Although his English was rough, I believe he stated the radio station is now closed. We were unable to locate the specific building, but he told me it was in hungbu-dong, Moranbong-guyok (Pictured in red below):

(UPDATE) In an interview with Kim Song-min of Free Radio North Korea, I was told that the Korean Workers’ Party Operational Department (6th Div.) 314 /128 Liaison Office is also located in this area. This organization performs communication jamming, radio disturbance and monitoring, decodement of overseas information agencies, and hacking into leading countries’ government websites.

Finally Dr. Oh mentioned that his daughters attended the Tonghung People’s School.  He was not sure of the exact building, but since I already knew the names of most buildings in in Tonghung-dong (동흥동: just NW of the Koryo Hotel),  I am 99% sure this is the place:

Equipment storage or worker housing for the Koryo Hotel convention center (underway now) seems to have been constructed on the school’s front lawn sometime after May 27, 2011.

Here is a recent media story following Dr. Oh’s visit to DC.


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