Moon used a ‘Honey Trap’, a beautiful woman, to ensnare Sam Park’s very rich grandfather. Sam’s uncle explains what happened to the Choi family.
▲ 韓国経済界の重鎮 • 崔淳英氏
Mr. Soon-yeong Choi – South Korean business community stalwart.
The magazine article was called:
“My family has been the prey of the Unification Church.”
They even used a ‘Honey Trap’
● Report by journalist Takeshi Oobayashi 大林高士
published in the Weekly Post, Japan, on November 5, 1993
Uncovering the origins of founder Sun Myung Moon
Chairman Soon-yeong Choi answered interview questions in the Korea Life Insurance building in Seoul. He gave a full exposé.
❖ Information and photo added:
Mr. Soon-yeong Choi was about 12 years old when first his mother, Duk-sam Lee, and then his two older sisters joined Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. His sister, Soon-wha Choi, known as Annie Choi in the US, is Sam Park’s mother. Mr. Soon-yeong Choi confirms earlier newspaper reports that his eldest sister, Soon-shil Choi, was arrested with Moon in July 1955 at the time of the Ewha Woman’s University sex scandal. She was 22. Her rich father is said to have got her out of jail after a week or so. Moon planned to marry Soon-shil Choi in the fall of 1959 and some time later to marry Soon-wha Choi. Moon claimed to be restoring “Jacob’s course” and told the two sisters they were in the positions of Leah and Rachel – the two wives of Jacob.
▲ Seoul in about 1956. Soon-wha Choi is on the right. The woman on the left may be her sister, Soon-shil Choi.
The father of Chairman Soon-yeong Choi was Seong-mo Choi who was caught by a Unification Church ‘Honey Trap’ ploy.
This comes from the lips of Mr. Soon-yeong Choi who owns nine related businesses, including Korea Life Insurance, and is influential in the Korean business community. He spoke about the stark realities of the almost forceful missionary work done in the early days of the Unification Church and reveals what was the “modus operandi of cajoling rich men” used by the Unification Church. He shares that with us only now that time has passed.
“My family has been torn apart”
There is a clear autumn sky over Seoul. The ‘Golden Tower,’ the 63-storey Korea Life building towering over the Han River, is the highest skyscraper in Korea. [until 2003]. There is also an observation deck and an aquarium, available to citizens of Seoul. It is nicknamed the ‘63 building.’ Many tourists from Japan also visit it.
I am in a room on one of the upper floors of this building, sitting face to face with the Korea Life Chairman, Soon-yeong Choi. He starts with these words.
“My family has been torn apart by the Unification Church and because of them I have had a lonely life.” (In Korea the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity is known as the Unification Church.)
Outside the window there is a panoramic view featuring the flowing Han River. The Choi family also owns this building.
❖ Photo added:
Seong-mo Choi, the father of Soon-yeong Choi, made a fortune from manufacturing flour from before World War II. After the war, he founded Korean Flour Milling (now East Asia Flour Mills). That laid the foundation for the new East Asia Group which acquired a number of companies, including Korea Life. Since his father’s death 17 years ago, the eldest son, Soon-yeong, took over and has led the business to the present time.
Soon-yeong Choi is now 54 years old. He is the owner of nine related companies – Korea Life Group, which employs 5,600 people, East Asia Flour Mills, a mutual credit bank, Far East Broadcasting, etc. The Choi family has a very good reputation in the South Korean business community.
However, since the beginning of the year, strange rumors about the Choi family began to spread among Korean Christians.
“The real owner of the Korea Life ‘63 building’ is Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church.”
“60% of the shares of Korea Life are owned by the Unification Church.”
Rumors were spread around as if they were true: “Apparently Korea Life, including the New East Asia Group, of the Choi family are funded by the Unification Church.” In addition Duk-sam Lee, the wife of Seong-mo Choi and was the mother of Soon-yeong Choi and his two sisters (Soon-shil and Soon-wha), were rumored to “be the women in the story of “three women having pikareum sex [‘chiwake’ in Japanese] with Sun Myung Moon,” an account made in documents by anti-Unification Church movements.”
The repeated rumors concerning the Unification Church and the Choi clan became increasingly frustrating for Soon-yeong Choi, patriarch of the Choi clan. This ultimately led to him giving a speech to clarify things to a large congregation at the Hallelujah Church, a leading Protestant church in Seoul.
Rev. Sang-bok Kim, who is a popular pastor of the Hallelujah Church, said this about the explanatory talk: “Among the faithful there was a growing unfounded rumor surrounding the ‘63 building’ and Unification Church. So I suggested that it is perhaps the job of Chairman Soon-yeong Choi to one time tell the truth to the congregation, and to the elders of this church, so they do not become blinded.”
This year, on June 13th, Chairman Choi gave a talk to the faithful. Seeing their contented expressions made me feel satisfied as well.”
But it is said that there is no smoke without fire. Why had the rumors surrounding the Korean conglomerates (Chaebols) and the Unification Church flowed so persistently and relentlessly?
I have already given three reports in this magazine, exploring the roots of the Unification Church. The Ewha Women’s University incident of 1955, which I reported on, was a major scandal. (See the October 15th issue of the Weekly Post.) Rev Sun Myung Moon himself was arrested on suspicion of “illegal detention (of a female college student).”
Related to this major scandal of the early days of the Unification Church, a 22-year-old female college student was arrested. The name of this student is Soon-shil Choi. In other words, it was the sister of Chairman Soon-yeong Choi.
My mother and two sisters joined, one after another.
In the room of the Korea Life ‘63 building,’ Chairman Soon-yeong Choi began to speak in a serious tone. “The hearsay that this ‘63 building’ is funded by the Unification Church, or that it is owned by the Unification Church, is total bullshit. A little research is enough for anyone to know this … I am very upset. As to the rumors of links between the Unification Church and Choi family, in no way is it related to the Unification Church. The Choi family became the biggest victims of the Unification Church.”
From the Choi family his mother and Chairman Soon-yeong’s two elder sisters joined the Unification Church. It is an unmistakable fact that his sister Soon-wha is an important figure in the American Unification Church, even as we speak.
During the Korean War, in the early 50s, the forces of Kim Il-Sung came south and occupied Seoul. The Choi family evacuated to Busan, as did many others. Soon-yeong was also in Busan with his mother, Duk-sam Lee. She was an ardent Christian and gave huge donations to the Christian church which she attended regularly. This became a hot topic on the war-torn streets.
Of course, the money all came from her husband, Seong-mo Choi. The Unification Church was poor at the time, and scrambled to try to recruit Seong-mo Choi. His son, Soon-yeong, was a boy just over 10 years old.
“My father hated the Unification Church. However, my mother had set foot in the Unification Church. Next my sister, Soon-wha, joined and subsequently my sister Soon-shil did also. Then it was my turn. My mother encouraged me to join. But I was like my father, I hated the Unification Church. So I resisted it quite hard. My mother then started discriminating against me and I was no longer cared for. My sisters had side dishes at dinner, but I did not. There were many such things.”
The Unification Church was narrowing their sights onto the rich Choi family as their target. They had already succeeded in recruiting three women. Soon-yeong said: “At the time, Sun Myung Moon was at the apex of the Unification Church and early founders were given high rank, but my mother, who had just joined, was also given a position among them.
In other words, to sit at such a high seat, you would need to give a lot of money. That was the reasoning behind it. My mother dedicated all the money to the Unification Church, and was constantly quarrelling with my father. The impoverished Unification Church not only stole from my family, but took money from other rich families. Any means was acceptable for the purpose. It was really vulgar. They thought nothing of taking all the money from an innocent couple even if it caused the family to fall apart.”
It was Soon-yeong Choi who used the words “really vulgar,” and he said them with vehemence.
When the war ended, the Choi family returned to Seoul and was then hit by the Ewha Woman’s University incident. In July 1955, Sun Myung Moon and four Unification Church leaders and a 22 year-old first year college student from Yonsei University [should be Ewha Woman’s University] were arrested on suspicion of “mediating adultery.” This college student was Soon-shil Choi.
“Soon-shil was the eldest sister and had attended Yonsei University [should be Ewha Woman’s University]. Soon-wha, the next eldest sister, was at Ewha Woman’s University [should be Yonsei University]. I’ve just heard from you for the first time that my father was visiting my sister in the detention cell every day, bringing her food. I think this might be possible because my father was a kind person. He thought a lot about his daughters.”
I then wondered what happened to the two sisters. Soon-shil was originally going to go to Medical School, but her path was completely changed because she joined the Unification Church.
“Soon-shil’s period of membership was short. She married a young man she met in the Unification Church, but soon both of them left the Unification Church.
However, the young man was affected by lung disease and died. My sister joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and is a member to this day.
A few years after the Ewha Woman’s University incident the next sister, Soon-wha, went to the United States, and is still now a member of the Unification Church. “My father, Seong-mo, left Soon-wha an inheritance of 0.58% of the Korea Life shares and she has ownership of those shares. The Soon-wha holdings may have become owned by the Unification Church, and (in the minds of some people) the value has leaped up to 60%, and hence rumors like “Korea Life became the Unification Church were spread” Soon-yeong said.
“He fell into a honey trap”
The story of the South Korean financial magnate, Soon-yeong Choi, extends to the death of his mother, Duk-sam Lee.
Duk-sam Lee met Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church when she was 40 years old. Since then she devoted herself to the church for a long time. Twenty years ago she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. The doctor recommended surgery, saying “You have a greater than 50% chance of recovery.”
She went to consult with the Sun Myung Moon. He then said: “I’ll heal you. There’s no need for surgery.” But Soon-yeong Choi said the outcome was the worst possible.
“My mother followed the instructions of Sun Myung Moon. Her medical condition deteriorated and she eventually died. At the last moment before she died, my mother finally realised that it had been a mistake to have believed in the Unification Church.”
Soon-yeong and his wife were at the hospital bed of his mother, Duk-sam Lee. One day, three officials of the Unification Church came and put a tape recorder in front of the dying patient. They wanted her to leave a will saying she desired to have her funeral at the Unification Church. They even wanted her to talk about inheritance, persisting for several hours. Duk-sam Lee remained silent.
“They were in my mother’s room, located at the furthest end of the ground floor. They put a recording machine right in the center of the room. We found it unbearable and eventually said to them, “She is our mother, not yours,” and I threw them out.”
Back then, Soon-yeong Choi says, his mother, Duk-sam Lee left a will with the pastor of her church, the Seong-eun Church. His name is Rev. Jae-seung Suh. Rev. Suh was away in Canada at the time [of my interview] and could not be reached. But Rev. Suh’s close friend Rev. Sang-bok Kim, (photo below) said this:
“Recently vicious rumors were circulated about Chairman Choi. I called Rev. Suh in Canada and confirmed the will of Ms. Lee.
This is what happened in January 1972 in a hospital room in Seoul: just before she died, Ms. Lee spoke into Rev. Suh’s ear. She said her belief in the Unification Church was a mistake. “Only those who believe in Jesus go to heaven. I too will believe in him and him only, and go to heaven.”
▲ Rev. Sang-bok Kim of the Hallelujah Church
However, at the death of Duk-sam Lee, his mother, the Unification Church again put out its tentacles to reach his father, Seong-mo Choi. Soon-yeong Choi sighed and explained:
“Before my mother died, the Unification Church made a woman approach my father, with the intention of getting his money. This person became my [step-]mother. The Unification Church will go for any kind of means or method.
Before my mother died, my father detested the Unification Church. However, he ended up marrying this woman. He fell for Unification Church ‘Honey trap’ ploy.”
I told this story to Myeong-hwan Tahk (of the International Religious Issues Institute). He is an expert on the issue of the Unification Church. “In Korea we use the term ‘Honey trap’ to mean using a beautiful woman to achieve a purpose or to get an advantage. I’ve been fighting with the Unification Church for a long time, over 28 years now. I have had contact with beautiful women. I would think to myself, “these must be ‘Honey traps.’” For a church elder like myself, being rumored of having affairs with women would certainly be fatal. But ordinary people would probably be more susceptible to getting stuck in a ‘Honey trap.’” (Myeong-hwan Tahk)
Seong-mo Choi’s father died of liver cancer in 1976. He and his second wife had a boy. The “Honey Trap” was in her 30s at the time. Currently, she lives alone in Seoul and is estranged from her son.
Unification Church “objections” and “opinions”
Regarding what Mr. Soon-yeong Choi said in response to the interview in your magazine, our religious legal team answer as follows.
1: Mr. Soon-yeong Choi is said to have said “My mother and sisters joined the Unification church, and as a result, huge funds flowed as donations to the Unification Church.” We have enquired with the Unification Church of Korea. According to them, in South Korea from the 1950s, following the war, and in the 1960s, the Korean economy was in a very difficult state. In those days Mr. Choi’s father was running small companies. It is unlikely, especially without the father joining as a member, that huge amounts of money flowed in as donations. Such a fact is not in the records.
2: Mr. Choi is said to have said “Before my mother’s death the Unification Church brought a woman close to my father, and used this method to try to seize his property.”
We have enquired with the Unification Church of Korea. There is no record of any such thing at all.
In addition, recently South Korean Christian opponents claim in part:
“Mr. Choi has received financial support from the Unification Church for construction and operating costs of his Korea Life Building (63 Building) and the Torchlight Missionary Center, and underwriting costs, etc. for Jeonju University.”
It is presumed that Mr. Choi responded to your magazine’s interview in such a way so as to prove that he was not associated with the Unification Church, making groundless remarks in so doing.
Unification Church Public Relations Department
One official related to the church in Seoul, who knows about the long conflict between the Choi clan and the (church officials of) the Unification Church, said: “The shape of the ‘63 building’ is actually in the form of two hands put together in prayer, to Jesus. This means that the building itself is a symbol of Korean Christianity.”
I left the ‘63 building’ and visited the nearby planned construction site for the 120-storey Unification Church building on Yeouido. It is in a prime location adjacent to the MBC Broadcasting building. Right now the 18,000 square meter site is a parking lot. The land is indeed owned by the Unification Church.
Suddenly a thought came to my mind, I wonder if a 120-story super high-rise building will be constructed in this vacant lot, and one day Sun Myung Moon will gaze down from an upper floor room on the ‘63 building.’
The late 20th century ringleader Sun Myung Moon’s ambitions are yet to be abandoned.
In the Japanese article the names of Mr. Choi Soon-yeong’s two older sisters, Soon-shil and Soon-wha, were mixed up in a few places. This has been corrected in the above text. Soon-shil was the elder daughter and went to Ewha Woman’s University and Soon-wha went to Yonsei University. Soon-wha moved to the US in 1964 and was known in the UC there. Her son, Sam Park, was born in Washington, DC, in 1966. Soon-shil was arrested in July 1955. This is confirmed in various newspaper and magazine reports. It would seem that Soon-wha, a student at Yonsei University, was held against her will for three days by Moon when he was trying to coerce her to stay in his church, but it is not completely clear. (Professor Kim Jeong-ok of Ewha University confirms that a female student from Yonsei was held against her will.)
Dr. Myeong-hwan Tahk can be seen in another interview on video: LINK
He was brutally murdered in Seoul by some cult members on February 18th 1994, just a few months after this interview.