Dollars from Heaven and Park Sang Hak

Yesterday, near the DMZ, it was a beautiful day for flying balloons — especially propaganda filled balloons — and  Park Sang Hak, a North Korean defector and leader of the balloon brigade, was there to take advantage of it. Unfortunately there was also a group of anti-propaganda-balloonists who didn’t appreciate Park’s efforts.

“A balloon-driven rumble broke out. Scores of police struggled to keep it from turning into a full-blown riot. Before it was over, Park kicked one of the counter-protesters squarely in the head — a blow that sounded like a bat whacking a hardball. He spat on several others who were trying to rip apart bags of leaflets. He pulled a tear-gas revolver from his jacket, and fired it into the air before police grabbed it away from him.”

Park managed to get one balloon aloft, but the other balloons were ripped to shreds spilling their thousands of valuable leaflets all over the ground. These leaflets are not only valuable because they inform the average North Korean of Kim Jong-il’s sexual depravities and expensive taste in wines — but they also make the lucky finder richer.

“Park says he has sent nearly 2 million anti-Kim leaflets north by balloon. Since April, he says, each of the water-proof leaflets borne by his balloons is attached to a U.S. dollar bill.” According to Park:  “Because of my balloons, the North Koreans are rounding up anyone with one dollar.”

You can read the rest of the Washington Post article here.

  • cm

    (Park shouts to the pro-North Korea Jinbo group who tried to stop him.)

    “You are the running dogs of Kim Jong Il,” he shouted. ‘You are trash.”

    (Right on the money)

    “You are afraid of unification,” they shouted back.

    Park replied:

    “I am going to launch balloons every day, if weather permits.”

  • WangKon936

    2 million balloons each w/a dollar attached to it!!!

    Daynm!.. isn’t that like 10% of North Korea’s GDP or something?

  • Gillian

    Good on Mr. Park. It’s about time someone showed the courage. I have some left-over US dollars that I would be willing to donate to his cause…..

  • KWillets

    Excellent article. Here’s the link to donate:

  • Granfalloon

    Max Brooks wrote that the North Koreans are people who would sooner eat their own children than speak a word of protest against their government. Not very inspiring.

    But on the other hand, getting the right information into the hands of the masses was crucial to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. So maybe these leaflets are a step in right direction.

  • craig

    South Korean lefties, fighting north Korean defectors, to protect the fat man up north.

    I needed to put down the coffee cup, and walk away from the news for a bit after reading that. WTF.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    hey, cm, try saying with me,

    More Unions in Korea !
    More Affordable Housing in Korea!
    Noh Moo Hyun, gives me an erection !

    what’s wrong, cm?

    Liberal in North America, and Conservative about Korea?

    Would the real cm, please shut up?

    Go lick some Park Junghee ddonggo.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    #6 – that about says it. If the lefties don’t like it they can send their own balloons complaining about how terrible life is down here with obesity on the rise and youth wasting their time playing computer games under the capitalist pigs.

  • dokdoforever

    Those lefties aren’t even real lefties, since they oppose basic human rights and freedom of speech (except for themselves, evidently). More like mindless nationalists. When will S. Korea’s labor unions stand firmly on principle and denounce authoritarian rule – like Italy’s Communist Party denounced Stalin and broke free from the Soviets? Damn depressing. S. Korea’s unions need a wake up call, they should be expelled from International Labor Federations or at least international human right organizations ought to denounce their actions and show them for the hypocrites they are. If they love dictatorial repressive rule so much they ought to go to North Korea, try to organize an independent trade union and see what happens. That would be worth watching.

  • Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    Deprivation is the wrong choice of word, by the way. Try “depravity”. Unless you mean to say that Kim Jong Il doesn’t get any sex.

  • robert neff

    Thanks Brendon – chalk it up to the late hour and a splitting headache…or what other convenient excuse that you can think of that might seem reasonable

  • eujin

    Is there a thriving dollar trade on the Chinese border? If they get all the way from the South Korean border to the Chinese border then they’re doing well. How else do people monetarize the dollar bills? Is there a black market all across North Korea operating partly in dollar bills? If there is then it raises some questions about how much control the Party really does have.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Pro-reunification activists? What do they suggest? That we send more ‘aid’ to North Korea so that Kim Jong Il can continue to bribe the right people in order to ensure that the army doesn’t overthrow him?

  • soondae

    Good on Park Sanghak, and really bad on the anti-propoganda balloonists. These people need to be photographed and id’d, with subsequent posters put on throughout the south detailing who they are and what they stand for.

  • Acropolis7

    How betrayed that young man must feel at his southern kin. It was hard for me to get through the entire clip. He seemed to have gotten head kick at one guy who presumably was one of the anti-leaflet protestors that were destroying his payload into the north.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    So far, all of the Kim family have been fat and ugly.

    Dominant genes on the Kim family providing sheer ugliness and energy conserving, heart disease promoting health risk factors.

    I wonder if they are real Kims or the fake ones.

    Either way, I promote men of the Kim surname to voluntarily withhold their semen from destinations where fertilization may take place.

    This may lead to someone being born who looks like Kim Jongil.

    Do you really want that? Mr. Kims, it would behoove of you to listen to my advice.

    Pro-reunification. This is soley based on another Mr. Kim’s thesis.

    Kim Daejung.
    Sunshine policy.

    Incidentally, all of Kim Daejung’s sons are kind of chubby and not good looking.

  • Acropolis7

    I honestly hope that there will not a headline of him being beaten to death or turn up missing in the next few weeks. North Koreans like him need to be given sanctuary in the U.S. ASAP.

  • Acropolis7

    Correction, North Korean defectors like him that is.

  • Jewook

    Here’s some more news about the leaflets in the Donga. The RFA has reported that the Nork government has started a war against ppira. Setting their normal duties aside, soldiers and security forces in the regions of Hwanghaenam-do where leaflets have been found are in a fervor of collecting and removing leaflets and searching belongings of people who have passed by those areas. Seems the leaflets have found their way to communal farms and nearby mountains where even children can pick them up. And they are also enforcing stricter procedures for when leaflets have been found. Instead of having people turning in leaflets themselves on discovery, sensitive officials – afraid that its citizens might actually read them – are asking them just to report the areas where leaflets have been discovered and are advising against coming in contact with the leaflets. They are also administrating harsher penalties on anyone who is in possession or has read them or has discussed the contents in public.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    LOL. The greedy bastards want to keep the cash for themselves. Mr. Park’s plan is far more brilliant than I had thought.

  • eujin

    So it’s just a scheme to channel money from well-meaning American donors into the coffers of the North Korean Government via balloons? A bit like an American Sunshine Policy? Sweet.

  • whitey

    One small kick in the head for a man,
    One giant leap for South Korean dignity.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Speaking of North Korea, the latest pictures of KJI were probably taken in spring by the looks of the light green leaves sprouting on the trees in the background.

  • Jewook

    Just read some good news. About 30 conservative groups have decided to join in on the balloon brigade activities. 50 members of one of the groups plan to send 100,000 leaflets tomorrow at 11:00 am. from Imjingak. All I have to say is, the more the merrier. :)

  • R. Elgin

    Actually, NK currency has taken such a beating that the Chinese Yuan has replaced it in many exchanges inside NK. The NK overlords do not have the nerve to prevent this either. Mr. Park should be sending money from other countries there as well so that the authorities will not know who has what or where it came from.

    . . . Park kicked one of the counter-protesters squarely in the head — a blow that sounded like a bat whacking a hardball . . .

    Unification is already too hard upon that fellow. Perhaps he should avoid unification as well.

  • IamMagical

    >One small kick in the head for a man,
    >One giant leap for South Korean dignity.


    but seeing how he came from NK i think he’s justified.

  • CactusMcHarris

    The sooner the regime change, the sooner NK common people will stop suffering and dying from famine.

    Let’s hope that the leaflet campaign can effect that.

    How South Koreans can fight against the campaign is remarkable in its sheer ignorance.

  • wookinponub

    There’s an awful lot of re-education that needs to happen up Nork after any regime change and before any reunification can happen.

  • virtual wonderer

    it makes my blood boil with rage that these anti-ballooners have absolutely no regard for the north korean people’s fundamental right to information. I wish South Korea could do some kind of exchange with the North Koreans and send these f@ck jockeys so they can work towards unification in Pyong Yang instead of hypocritically using their freedom of speech in the south.

    there are times when I envy the Chinese and how they execute prisoners with bullets paid for by their families.

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