Ha Jin-woo

My father was sent to prison by the North Korean government as a 'traitor who deceived the Labor Party 'by receiving money from the South Korean Security Agency. Our family suffered hardships. After my dad was released from prison a year later, I lived with him for the next 6 years in a space of 170 square feet. In order to escape from this life, my father received a 'permit to farm oil frogs' with help of his past connections, which allowed him to return to his hometown of Musan to live with my mother and older sister.

‘Oil Frog’ was famous in China as a nourishing tonic, so export went well, and I was fortunate to be able to go back to school. While I was at school, I also worked as a broker sending North Koreans to South Korea, sending more than 100 people to South Korea. As time passed, rumors began to spread that I was a broker, and after being chased by the North Korean government, I finally decided to defect to South Korea.

After I arrived in South Korea in 2014, I got a chance to study police administration, which was my dream major, but I heard that my mother in my hometown was taken to a kyohwaso(Prison Camps) instead of me. In order to save my mom, I quit studying and started a truck driving job to make money

After driving a truck for over two years, I got ankylosing spondylitis, and I had no choice but to stop driving a truck. I was unable to do hard work because of back pain. I decided to try the “oil frog farming” I used to do in North Korea again. It took about a year and a half to get permission to grow Korean oil frogs, and  now I recently opened and started operating the Hana Tongil Tourism Farm.

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