The Korea Herald


Gimhae to commemorate hometown hero killed in 1979 coup

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Dec. 11, 2023 - 16:10

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This photo shows a scene from the movie This photo shows a scene from the movie "12.12: The Day," in which the character Oh Jin-ho engages the rebel forces during the military coup of Dec. 12, 1979. The character of Oh is based on Lt. Col. Kim Oh-rang. (Plus M Entertainment)

A commemorative ceremony in honor of the late Lt. Col. Kim Oh-rang, who died while battling the rebel forces during the 1979 military coup, will be held Tuesday in his hometown of Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province.

According to city officials, the annual ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. near Kim's bust erected between Samjeong Middle School and Samseong Elementary School, which the deceased soldier graduated from.

The ceremony has been held each year since 2014, when the government conferred an Order of National Security Merit for his efforts to resist the military coup.

Born in 1945, Kim was an aide-de-camp of the Special Warfare Command commander Jeong Byeong-ju at the time of the Dec. 12, 1979, military coup led by then-Army Gen. Chun Doo-hwan. The coup was an attempt by Chun to gain control of the military, and eventually helped him rise to power as a military dictator of South Korea.

Refusing the rebel force's request to stand down, Kim barricaded him and Jeong into the commander's office and engaged in a gunfight against them. They were soon overrun as Kim was shot dead and Jeong was arrested.

Kim's story garnered nationwide interest recently after the movie "12.12: The Day," a historical drama based on the 1979 military coup, took the top spot of the Korean box office. Actor Jung Hae-in plays Oh Jin-ho, a character based on Kim.