http://sg.search.news.yahoo.com/sea...=ukey:5748004 Up to 200,000 kept in North Korea's "gulag" camps: report North Korea detains up to 200,000 people in "slave" camps where torture and executions are routine and starvation is widespread, according to a report on the isolated state. The study by the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea told how pregnant women among thousands of North Koreans repatriated from China are forced to abort their infants or watch their babies killed after birth, in case the fathers are foreign. "The Hidden Gulag - Exposing North Korea's Prison Camps" was compiled by David Hawk, a former UN human rights investigator, who has in the past reported on the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia and the ethnic massacres in Rwanda in the mid-1990s. North Korea denies it has political prisoners. But the study, based on interviews with former inmates and guards who escaped North Korea, estimated there were between 150,000 and 200,000 people in dozens of camps. It produced satellite photographs of the camps, and mines and industrial complexes where inmates are forced into "slave labour". Political inmates are detained for their perceived opposition to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il or his father Kim Il-Sung, the North's founder leader who died in 1994. Some were imprisoned for tipping ink on a picture of one of the two Kims or not taking care of photographs of the two that every household in the nation of 22 million people must prominently display. One woman's crime had been to sing a South Korean pop song. Others were ethnic Koreans who returned from Japan but were considered to have been "spoiled by their exposure to Japanese liberalism and capitalist prosperity." Up to three generations of the family of each offender is also detained to ensure political purification. The study said there was "a North Korean gulag of forced-labour colonies, camps and prisons where scores of thousands of prisoners -- some political, some convicted felons -- are worked, many to their deaths." The report said each camp has between 5,000 and 50,000 detainees and that "prisoners live under brutal conditions in permanent situations of deliberately contrived semi-starvation." The researcher also interviewed former inmates such as An Hyuk, who was interned after going to China from where he was repatriated in 1986. An was at the Yodok camp in South Hamgyong province where "his duties entailed breaking ice and wading waist-deep into a frozen stream to gather stones" to build an electric power station. The report said it was "a 'murderous' construction project, as scores died from exposure, and even more lost fingers and toes to frostbite." Another inmate at the same camp, Lee Young-Kuk, told how one man was "executed" by being dragged behind a car in front of all the prisoners. Other inmates then had to "place their hands on his bloodied corpse." A former guard, Ahn Myong-Chol, was quoted as saying that between 1,500 and 2,000 prisoners, mostly children, died each year while he was at the Haengyoung camp in North Hamgyong province. Ahn added that there were so many deaths from beatings "that at one point the guards were warned to be less violent." A second category of camps was for the thousands of people sent back from China. According to some rights groups, up to 300,000 people have crossed the border to flee starvation and repression in North Korea. The report said pregnant women sent back were forced to abort their infants or they were killed. It quoted one 66-year-old grandmother held in the border city of Sinuiju who was forced to work in a medical building for pregnant detainees. The woman, whose name was witheld to protect her family in North Korea, said she helped deliver seven babies "some of which were full term, some of which were injection induced abortions. All of the babies were killed." "A doctor explained that since North Korea was short on food, the country should not have to feed the children of foreign fathers." Two babies survived for two days. The grandmother told that a North Korean guard "came by, and seeing that two of the babies were not dead yet, stabbed them with forceps at a soft spot in their skulls." Other women told of similar killings at other camps where women who had children with ethnic Han Chinese fathers were publicly criticised.