Actress kidnapped by DPRK dies at 91

Actress kidnapped by DPRK dies at 91

Actress kidnapped by DPRK dies at 91

Veteran actress Choi Eun-hee died on Monday after a long life fuller of ups and downs than a Hollywood film. Her husband, the film director, Shin Sang-ok, was taken there soon after.

The couple remained trapped in the country for eight years, making several films together under the instruction of Kim, who would later become North Korea's leader.

In 1977, Kim Jong-il ordered Mrs Choi's abduction and set into motion a convoluted plot to lure her to Hong Kong the following year before spiriting her away to make propaganda movies under Mr Kim's close watch.

In a 2011 interview, Choi said Kim "respected us as artists and fully supported us", but that she could never forgive him for the kidnapping.

During the period, Choi won the best actress award at the 1985 Moscow worldwide film festival for her role in Salt, a film about Korean guerrillas fighting against Japanese colonial rule.

The couple - who had divorced in 1976, before their abductions - remarried during a trip to Hungary at Kim's urging.

Treated with suspicion by some of his fellow South Koreans, the pair spent much of the 1990s in the United States - where Shin directed the 3 Ninjas film series - before returning to South Korea after being assured that the authorities would not consider them defectors.

Choi was born in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province in 1926 and debuted on the silver screen when she was 21.

She was called the "queen" of South Korean cinema from the 1950s to the 1970s while appearing in more than 100 movies - many made by Shin. As she arrived at the meeting, she was "grabbed by two men, bundled into a speedboat and injected with a sedative, waking up aboard a freighter bound for North Korea", says the South China Morning Post.

Choi's funeral will be held in Seoul on Thursday.

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