Feb. 2016 — I’ve heard the Kim Un-Yong, the father of Olympic Taekwondo, is still trying to make a come-back. It’s worth looking at a few of his espionage activities from the past, partly to see why there are still shenanigans in Tae Kwon Do these days.
In 1961, a group of powerful, vicious men helped a general, Park Chung-hee, to take over South Korea in a bloodless coup d’etat. These men would build and use many Tae Kwon Do instructors for espionage missions over the next few decades. Kim was a high-ranking Korean CIA agent known as “Mickey Kim” and worked for Park after the coup. During an investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives regarding illegal KCIA activities in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, a number of previously classified documents shed light on what Kim and others were doing on those missions.
In 1965, for example, Mickey Kim helped Korea’s dictator to negotiate building a gun factory with the help of U.S.-based Colt Industries. In 1971,as part of a mission to “collect” American donations for a South Korean regime, Kim asked this same company for a “contribution.” Colt officials authorized a cheque for $100,000, payable to Kim Un-yong, but on the advice of lawyers withdrew it because they discovered that such donations were illegal in South Korea. The American government keenly watched such illegal activities before taking action.
The following two documents are from pages 76 and 104 of “Investigation of Korean-American Relations: Report of the Subcommittee on International Organizations” (Oct. 31, 1978). They are from some of the many reports in my revised book, A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do (2016).