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Ahn Jung Geun, Korean nationalist who killed Hirobumi Ito

A memorial opened on Sunday in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, to a Korean patriot who killed a top Japanese official over a century ago.

Ahn Jung Geun shot dead Hirobumi Ito, who had served as the prime minister of Japan four times before becoming resident-general of Korea in 1905, at Harbin railway station on Oct. 26, 1909.

Ahn was born in 1879 in an area currently named Haeju, Hwanghaenam-do in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

In his early adulthood, he devoted himself to education. He later joined the armed resistance against Japanese aggression in northeast China and Russia's far east.

After the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Japan accelerated its pace of aggression and annexation of the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean Empire was proclaimed in 1897 to replace the old dynasty. In 1905, the Korean Empire was forced to sign the Japan-Korea Protectorate Treaty, otherwise known as the Eulsa Treaty, and Ito became the first resident-general of Korea.

With its victory the Russian-Japanese war,the Japanese government sent Ito to Harbin in 1909 to meet the finance minister of the Russian empire and discuss the annexation of the Korean Peninsula and the partition of Japanese and Russian interests in northeast China.

Ahn decided to grasp the opporuntity to kill Ito and to reveal Japan's aggression and ambition to the world.

After confirming Ito's plans, Ahn arrived at the Harbin railway station on Oct. 22, 1909 on a postal train which orginated in Vladivostok, Russia.

On the moring of Oct. 26, 1909, Ito's special train arrived at Harbin station. While Ito inspected the Russian guard of honor on the platform, escorted by the Russian finance minister, Ahn passed the parade and pulled out his pistol, shooting Ito three times in the chest and abdomen. Ito died 20 minutes later.

On Nov. 3, 1909, Ahn and eight others connected to the killing were sent to a prison managed by Japan and Russia at Lyvshun in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

In early December 1909, Japanese foreign affairs authorities issued a secret order for Ahn's execution.

In court, Ahn insisted that he killed Ito as a lieutenanet general of the Korean resistance army for the independnence of his motherland and peace in East Asia.

Ahn was hanged on March 26, 1910. In his last words, he asked thst his remains be buried near Harbin Park and returned to his country after independence.

After Ahn's execution, his two brothers asked Japan to deliver up his body but were refused. Ahn was secretly buried somewhere in Lyvshun.

In recent years, China, the Republic of Korea and the DPRK have made great efforts in searching for Ahn's remains, but to no end.

[Source: Xinhua, Harbin, 19Jan14]

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