Kim Jae Kyu

Kim Jae Kyu

▪ South Korean military officer

born 1926, North Kyongsang province, Korea [now in South Korea]
died May 24, 1980, South Korea

      South Korean military officer and head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) who, on Oct. 26, 1979, assassinated the South Korean president, Park Chung Hee.

      Kim was the lifelong friend and confidant of Park. They had been in the same class at the Korean Military Academy. Kim rose to the rank of lieutenant general after having been commander of army security and deputy director of the KCIA. After the top KCIA officer in Washington, D.C., defected during an investigation of South Korean influence in Congress, Kim was appointed (1976) the head of the KCIA, an extremely powerful position.

      At a private dinner party hosted by Kim for President Park, Kim opened fire, killing Park and Park's chief security officer, Cha Chi Chul. He was arrested soon after the shooting by General Chung Sung Hwa. At first, it was assumed that the shooting had been the result of an emotional outburst, but later an investigation showed it had been a carefully planned assassination. Kim asserted at his trial that he had killed his friend to avert a bloodbath that Park had been planning for his opponents and that only by killing Park could democracy be restored in South Korea. The government investigation, led by General Chun Doo Hwan, contended that Kim shot Park solely to preserve his own power and sentenced him to death, after which Kim and four KCIA aides were hanged.

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Universalium. 2010.

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