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Dong-nam Shin was a young man who was shot and killed by a soldier during the Gwangju Uprising in South Korea on 20 May, 1980. He was one of the five unidentified bodies dubbed as the "Unknown Martyrs" by civilians and Korean media.

He was identified in May 2021 on the 41st anniversary of the uprising. His identification is being used as an aid in identifying the remaining three unidentified bodies in the tomb dedicated to the Unknown Martyrs.

Case

On May 18th, 1980, students from the local Chonnam University in Gwangju, South Korea, who were protesting against the martial law government of the country at the time were murdered, shot, raped, and beaten by government soldiers. This sparked a large uprising in the city resulting in civilians raiding local police stations to arm themselves and occupying large portions of the city before more government soldiers arrived. Violent clashes between civilians and soldiers were common during the uprising, resulting in an uncertain death toll by the end of the conflict on May 27th of 1980. While government reports state only 170 casualties, it is suspected the true number of casualties ranges from 600 to 2,300 people.

Amongst the death toll was Dong-nam Shin, a 30-year-old man who was shot and killed in front of a Buddha statue by a soldier on May 20th, 1980. It is stated by his brother that he was transported to the local Red Cross Hospital where he died from his injuries. Sometime after his death, his body was moved to the Gwangju city hall without the knowledge of his family and mistaken for another victim. When this victim was identified as a survivor though, Shin's body was placed in a tomb dedicated to the uprising's unidentified deceased. His family was never notified of his whereabouts after he died until recent DNA tests matched his profile to the body in the tomb.

Shin is currently buried in the Mangwolmyo Cemetery dedicated to the uprising's casualties and his case is being used to attempt to identify the remaining three unidentified bodies in the tomb that formerly held his body alongside the case of Chang-geun Yang.

Sources

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