INT: And what did you look like when you came out from this period of hiding under the ground?

HA: Er, I was pale and when I already crawled out after that was ... when I crawled out of the hole in order to evacuate from my home to go to a safer place, I was pale and my knees really failed me, I couldn't stand up quickly because of a malnutrition. I was not in the sun for many days and my face was pale, my hair grown to a grotesque proportion and I really... I think I looked very bad.

INT: Can you describe then when the UN forces came back into Seoul in September 1950, the atmosphere in the city then, the fighting, the mortaring and why your father decided that the family should split up at that point?

HA: We heard over the radio - we had the radio and we hid our radio under the many layers of our mattresses - and we heard the announcement or news from from the way down South from Pusan and we heard UN forces landed in Inchon, that was in September fifteenth 1950, about three months after the North Korean occupation of Seoul, and we thought at last, the liberation is imminent, we thought it would be a day or two, because the distance between Seoul and Inchan was only ninety miles. It took some fifteen days for them to reach Seoul. Each day was so long like many thousands of years. But anyway, we survived and if I am to go back to the episode of running... evading the recruitment by North Koreans, when North Koreans faced the [inaudible] by the UN forces of Seoul, their search intensified. One day - I think several days before UN forces reached Seoul, there was a very intensive search and my mother told me that coming back from outside, said, today the search team is so big, so thorough, I cannot keep you over here, get out of my sight, I don't want you... I don't want to see that you being picked up by them, get out. So I got out of the house. At that time, for such an eventuality, I had a kind of red band, which I faked, like a Communist cadre and I had the old bag, red leather bag that the... like a Communist would carry and I put my red band, my arm band on my arm and took up the leather case, which had nothing in there, and I left the house and sure enough, there was at the corner there was a black and a young man told me, perhaps he's from the countryside somewhere, farmer probably, Communist sympathiser, told me, comrade, where are you going? And I shouted at him, comrade, don't you ever let anybody past this place, do you understand? He said, yes sir. I turned round and I ran and I found the street car still running at that time and hopped on to a street car, it was empty, there was only operator and myself and I rode it all day, back and forth, back and forth and operator didn't know who I was, what I was doing. And the sunset, I came back and house was empty and my younger brother, small brother was almost crying, and I said where is everybody? He said, brother you are back. where's everybody? He said, mother, father, everybody went out to... looking for you, to the order... you know the correction centres, where the school yards many youngsters were collected and they were looking for you to say good-bye and give you some money to survive. And I said, I'm here and then one by one the mother came back and father came back and they were jubilant and that was how the situation more or less came to an end. And when the UN forces reached Seoul, I think that was September twenty fifth, it took three days for them to really liberate the entire city, and my house was located in a hillside and there was a cross-fire between the UN forces on the South and the... retreating North Korean People's Army on the northern side and it lasted about two days and we were right in the middle of it and I could see from my house many house being bombed and the exploded and the smoke, you know, coming out and the... I heard the shrill of the mortar shells and flying over. I could even see certain black dots, you know, flying over. And finally my father instruct told us that it would be better if our family split up, at least somebody will have to survive this war, the last battle and I took my grandmother and start to walk out of the house and we were heading to the North, to the house of my aunt, who lived in the northern part of Seoul, and I don't know where my mother and father went even today, but anyway we split and on the way to my aunt's home we saw on the streets block by block, already no regular army was visible, but there were guerrillas, supposedly what they called partisans dressed in different way, with caps on, with rifles, shoot... hunting rifles, some with [inaudible] sword and their eyes w

INT: Can you just summarise for me again, why was it your father wanted to split the family up?

HA: Because the fight was so intense and it was almost certain that if we remained home, then our house would be bombed or shelled and we all perish. and my father probably in totally desperation thought that we should split, because that would possibly keep some of the family members alive. But then, at the end of the occupation, we found that nobody from our direct family suffered any casualty.

INT: So it was a happy ending to that. Moving on now a little bit in the war, you eventually joined the army of the Republic of Korea and fought very bravely with them. In that period of 1952, 1953, were you aware of any atrocities committed by North Korean troops?

HA: Even before and after I joined the army, I heard many stories of atrocities committed by the North Koreans, particularly by the party cadres, not the regular army. I heard that many of the Communist sympathisers now exposed committed atrocities. At least, in my own family situation, two my remote distant relatives got killed. One was the elder person who was my grandfather's brother in law, who was a magistrate of a small town. He was captured by North Koreans and later he was found beaten to death in the local cell of that particular community. His son was a police officer of South Korea, he was also found dead and I don't know how truthful it is, but we heard that he was dead and his body had this wire sticking into his ears and nose and so forth. Obviously there was a great deal of atrocity committed by the North Koreans.

INT: As a soldier in the Republic of Korea army, how did you find the US soldiers behaved towards you? Were they sympathetic or arrogant or...?

HA: Of course, they were... American forces were to us saviours. They came to rescue us, risking their lives and we were totally appreciative of them and when I was in the army, I had many contacts with the American units, the patrol leaders, and we walked together, side by side, and so forth. The regular army soldiers and the officers were very well disciplined and kind and cheerful, as usually many Americans are. However, I also found that some of the American officers, who were attached to the ROK army units as an advisers, as they come to know more about the Koreans and the Korean side and our operation, I think many grew disdainful of the Koreans and they didn't have too much respect for Koreans and the... many arrogant. But then I think we invited some of their disdain ourselves, because we were disorganised, inexperienced, lack of tradition as armed forces. But still they... as some of the Americans have become more familiar with us, certainly was a certain disrespect. As a very young man, idealist young man, I resented. At the same time, I also have to add that in general, the Americans were very good, very helpful and as a whole, we really appreciated their coming to fight for us.