Was There A Secret Plot To Overthrow Kim Jong Un?

( – The non-fiction political thriller “The Rebel and the Kingdom,” which was released earlier this month, recounts the true story of one man’s failed mission to overthrow the North Korean regime.

The book, written by Bradley Hope, recounts how Adrian Hong planned to fake a kidnapping of North Korean diplomat So Yun-suk who had south Hong’s help in defecting.

The book describes the “underground railroad” of sorts where activists, missionaries, operatives, and their supporters in Washington tried to save North Koreans from Kim Jong-un.

One such activist was Adrian Hong.

Hong, a Mexican citizen of Korean descent, grew up in California. The only child of Christian missionaries in Tijuana, his family moved to San Diego when Hong was seven.

In 2004, Hong co-founded the group Liberation in North Korea, or LiNK, later renamed Liberty in North Korea.

The book recounts how Hong was forced to contend with the limitations of the US commitment to human rights as State Department officials he dealt with were more concerned with “geopolitics, the balance of power, and nuclear weapons” than the suffering of the North Korean people.

In 2006, North Korean refugees traveled under Hong’s protection to Shenyang, China believing the US consulate would give them safe harbor. But embassy officials refused. As a result, Hong spent ten days in a Chinese detention center before he was deported.

Disgusted by the lack of support, Hong became more radical, forming a secret organization called Free Joseon which targeted North Korean diplomats who might be persuaded to defect while drawing up plans for a government-in-exile

In 2017, Free Joseon successfully ferried Kim Jong-un’s nephew, Kim Hal-sol, to Taipei after his father was assassinated.

But Hong’s attempt at a staged kidnapping in 2019 would lead to his downfall. When the plot fell apart, Hong and his accomplices were forced to hand over their files and hard drives to the FBI.

Now Hong is a fugitive and his whereabouts are unknown.

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