Maybe Gareth knows where they are

Gareth Morgan seems to know everything there is to know about North Korea…perhaps he found these missing people on his escorted trip around North Korea.

More than 20,000 inmates of North Korea’s notorious Camp No 22 are feared to have perished during the regime’s recent closure of brutal facility.

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) claims the prisoners – most of whom have never committed a crime – may have been allowed to die of disease or starvation in the run-up to the camp’s closure last year.

The organisation’s latest report, North Korea’s Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps, says the prison population shrank dramatically in the months leading up to December.

According to a report on the Telegraph’s website, defectors of the regime revealed about 8,000 of the 30,000 prisoners may have been transferred to other camps, leaving 22,000 unaccounted for.?

The prisoners who survived are believed to have moved to Camp 25 near Chongjin City or to North Hamgyeong Province’s Camp 16, about which virtually nothing is known.

The closure came as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un consolidated his grip on power following the death of his father in 2011, Kim Jong-Ill.

Now the HRNK has called for an inquiry into their fate.

The report stated: ‘North Korea’s 2009 currency devaluation (whereby camp authorities were reportedly unable to purchase food in markets to supplement the crops grown in the camps), combined with bad harvests, resulted in the death of large numbers of prisoners after 2010,’ the report states.

‘If even remotely accurate, this is an atrocity requiring much closer investigation.’

While the report covers all of North Korea’s gulags, it focuses a large part of its attention on the situation in Camp 22.

HRNK spoke to defectors, including former guards, and occasional camp survivors to compile the report. It also used satellite images.

Camp 22 is believed to sprawl across 770 square miles, making it larger than London.

HRNK estimates even after the closures of two camps, about 130,000 people are still being held in labour colonies across the country.

The report stated: ‘Through this vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the North Korean regime isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime.

‘They are deemed “wrong-thinkers”, “wrong-doers”, or those who have acquired “wrong-knowledge” or have engaged in “wrong-associations”.’

The report added: ‘North Korea denies access to the camps to outsiders, whether human rights investigators, scholars, or international media and severely restricts the circulation of information across its borders.’