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Injured S. Korean ex-sex slave in China to be treated in Seoul

All Headlines 17:16 April 08, 2016

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will transfer a South Korean former sex slave in China, who has suffered serious injuries due to an accident, to her home country next week to receive treatment, government officials said Friday.

Ha Sang-sook, 88, resides in the city of Wuhan, China's Hubei Province, and broke her rib and pelvis last month after falling down a staircase on Feb. 15 when having a quarrel with a neighbor.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said it has decided to have her transferred to Seoul on Sunday so that she can receive treatment at ChungAng University Hospital in the South Korean capital.

She recently regained consciousness after receiving treatment at an intensive care unit at a hospital in China. But she is having difficulty breathing, as the broken rib has sparked an infection in her lung, government officials said.

Her transfer to Seoul was scheduled after a team of doctors from the hospital visited her early this month for her diagnosis and judged it would be no problem to move her to South Korea.

When Ha is moved to Seoul, she will be accompanied by a four-member medical team from the South Korean medical institution as well as her daughter and granddaughter.

Gender Equality and Family Minister Kang Eun-hee said in a statement, "We'll ensure she will get enough treatment to make a fast recovery."

Ha is the only former sex slave in China who keeps her South Korean nationality, they said. Two other victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery in China are Korean-Chinese.

At the age of 17, she was forced to serve as a sex slave in Wuhan for Japanese troops during World War II. Even after Japan's defeat in the war, she did not return to her home country, according to her family. She lived in South Korea for a few years after recovering her South Korean citizenship in 1999, but returned to China because she had no living relatives in her home country.

Historians estimate the historical number of sex slaves at about 200,000, with less than 45 South Korean victims alive today.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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