Christchurch Korean demolition expert refused communion

A Christchurch demolition engineer, Eugene Chang, has been refused communion at his Korean Catholic church after being accused of being a North Korean sympathiser and spy.

He has had to step down from the board of trustees of the Korean school after parents refused to send their children while he was involved and been shunned by his South Korean community after starring in a mockumentary seemingly produced by the North Korean Government that appeared to praise the North Korean system.

His wife, a teacher at a language school, has been accused by students of being a North Korean spook.

The accusations are false. The mockumentary argues that the world is controlled by corporates who use consumerism, religion and pop culture to prevent people rising up against their corrupt rulers. North Korea is promoted as a glorious exception.

Posted on YouTube, the film purports to have arrived in the West via North Korean defectors living in Seoul. In fact the film was made by Christchurch film-makers Slavko Martinov and Mike Kelland and had its world premiere in Amsterdam in November, with support from the New Zealand Film Commission.

The filmmakers were so concerned by the accusations that they requested a meeting with the Korean Society to make formal statements about the film – as they had done to the South Korean Embassy – to clear Eugene’s name. But despite firm and repeated attempts to declare that the film was New Zealand-made and there were no connections with the North Korean regime at any time, all three have been accused of colluding with the North Korean regime and acting as agents of North Korea.

A prominent person in the Christchurch Korean Society, who asked not to be named, said many in the community now regarded Chang as a North Korean sympathiser and spy, even if they did understand he had been acting.

He said Chang’s acceptance of the role was highly inappropriate given his previous position as vice-president of the society and the tensions on the Korean peninsula.
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