Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 18 - The Kidnapping of the Chairman of the Washington Times [Part 1 / 2]
Abduction in New York City
In autumn 1984, a rather unusual experience happened to me: I was kidnapped by people I had never seen before and of whom I had no knowledge whatsoever. In America, kidnapping is an extremely serious offense, comparable with murder. It is so serious that the FBI is mobilized, regardless of where a kidnapping takes place.
Kidnappings are usually undertaken for two purposes. The first is financial gain. In such cases, the kidnappers normally target members of wealthy families, especially young children. After the victim is snatched, the perpetrators send a threatening note directing the family to deliver a large amount of money to such and such a place if they want to see their loved one again. In many instances, one cannot reasonably expect the safe return of the child, even if the money is delivered. It is common for the kidnappers, who are often cruel and merciless individuals, to murder the victim to destroy any evidence.
The other main purpose for which many kidnappings are committed is political. In such cases, the abduction is often committed by a hostile or enemy government, or by some form of terrorist organization. The purpose is not money but the removal of an individual who in some way is an obstacle to the kidnappers' political aims. In some cases, the purpose may be to obtain information or intelligence.
In this type, the kidnappers are often well-trained specialists. The kidnapping is seen as a method of achieving their aims, and when the time comes, they will often murder the victim to remove him as a witness. However, if the victim is a noted scientist, for example, he may not be killed but removed, in secret, to the nation that organized the kidnapping, or perhaps to a third country. There, his skills and knowledge are utilized. This kind of abduction was frequent during World War II and the Cold War.
My own experience with kidnapping unfolded in the following manner. One afternoon, I received a phone call in my office at the Tiffany Building in New York City (at the time, I was chairman of both the News World and the Washington Times). The caller informed me that a certain well-known South Korean politician intended to visit New York and would like to meet me. He asked if I would be available to meet him at the coffee shop in the Grand Hyatt Hotel on such and such a day, such and such a month.
The politician mentioned by the caller was quite influential, so I agreed to the meeting with a sense of curiosity at the prospect of picking up some news of what was going on at home in South Korea. I'm not going to mention the politician's name here. He was in no way involved in the affair, other than the fact that the kidnappers used his name to gain my confidence and orchestrate the kidnapping incident.
On the appointed day, I went to the Grand Hyatt Hotel at the requested time, accompanied by two people: Tony Columbrito, an American who was one of my assistants at the time, and Francisco Rondan, my driver. Tony and I went directly to the coffee shop. After a few minutes, three unfamiliar youths appeared and introduced themselves as assistants of the politician I was supposed to meet.
"Nice to meet you," I said. "But where is your boss? Couldn't he make it?"
"The minister wanted you to join him for dinner, so he has reserved a room at one of the best Korean restaurants in the city. He is waiting for you there now. It is close by. It will only take about five minutes to get there. Please allow us to take you." There was nothing unusual about the situation and no reason to suspect their intentions, so I said, "OK, if you show the way, I'll follow you in my car." At that, the youths replied respectfully, "Please, we've been asked to bring you directly. We have prepared a car. Please allow us to drive you there."
I turned to my assistant and said, "Tony, they are going to take me to the restaurant themselves, so why don't you take the car and go back to the office." After giving these instructions, I followed the youths out of the coffee shop. When I look back, there was definitely a strange atmosphere at this point. Also, having the car parked at the rear of the hotel was definitely not standard practice. I later realized they did this to avoid those accompanying me.
The youths directed me to a dark blue Lincoln. A driver was in the driver's scat, and the engine was already running. When they opened the rear door, I planned to sit on the right-hand side. This was normal etiquette for a guest such as myself. But to my surprise, as soon as I sat down, one youth pushed me into the middle and sat in the guest's position himself! Then the door for the left-side back seat opened, and another youth stepped in, so that I was in the middle with one youth on either side. When I looked around, I saw that the third youth had taken the seat next to the driver.
At that point, I felt for the first time that something was unusual. The car started to move, and there was a long period of silence. The air in the car seemed to be packed with tension. "So, where are we going?" I asked, trying to appear unconcerned. That triggered a reaction from the driver. "Shut your mouth!" he bellowed. Of course, by the time I realized something was up, it was already too late. I understood that I had become the victim of a kidnapping.
"We're going to execute you at midnight tonight!" one of them said. Perhaps because I had been trained to be calm under such conditions, or because I had confronted death several times during my army career, I began to calmly analyze my situation.
"These fellows are Korean," I thought. "I'm not a rich person. Therefore, money isn't the objective. They must be acting on the orders of someone higher up, for some political purpose. I don't know who they are, but if there is some political reason for having me killed, it would have to be because of my anti-communism. There's no other reason why anyone would do this. So, are they agents from the North, or could they be acting under orders from the Soviet KGB? If so, then I'm a dead man for certain. If it's political, there's no way to get out of it. It's the end of the line for me! I have no choice but to face the grim reality."
The car was now driving along glamorous Madison Avenue. I resumed analyzing my situation: "The only way for me to get out of this alive is to get out of the car and make a break for it before we get out of the city. Once we get out of New York, I won't stand a chance." I waited until the car halted at an intersection, and then suddenly leapt into action. "I just have to buy some medicine," I said. I forced the left-side door open and tried to escape.
Unfortunately, it didn't work. The two youths on either side of me ruthlessly punched me and held me down, soon joined by the one in the front. The driver, who seemed to be the leader, shouted at me, "If you make a move, we'll just kill you right here and now." The two youths beside me took out pistols and then handcuffs, which they put on my wrists. The handcuffs were much too small for my wrists. When they forced them shut, my wrists burned with pain and I felt like my hands were going to break off. The driver shouted, "Blindfold him!" The youths promptly carried out the instructions, then pushed me down on the floor. They placed their feet on me and held me down with their shoes. Obviously, they did not want anyone to catch wind of what was going on, so they made it impossible for anyone to see me. By now, I was submerged in a sea of seemingly limitless pain.
I was held in this position while the car made its way out of New York and then driven on toward some destination. The car did not stop, so I deduced that we were on some kind of highway.
I think we drove for about two hours. Then the car entered a bumpy lane. Every time the car jounced the pain was torturous, and I was pushed to the limits my endurance. Finally the car stopped. The three youths got out, then dragged me out as well. After being cramped in the car, my arms and legs had gone to sleep, so I couldn't move them well. I couldn't be certain because of the blindfold, but it sounded like we were in the garage of a private residence. (Editor's note: The location was later identified as Slate Hill, New York, about fifty miles north of New York City.)
Two of the hoods grabbed me by my arms and dragged me up a narrow staircase. On the next floor, they took me to a small room and made me sit down on some kind of chair, which they proceeded to tie me to. I managed to catch a few glimpses around me and spotted a South Korean flag on one wall. This new information threw me into doubt. "Who could these people be? Who were they getting their orders from?" The flag on the wall made me wonder all the more.
"The communists must be trying to trick me somehow. It could be that these rogues are simply getting paid to do this and are not the prime movers. The Soviet Union must he behind all this. Are these men paid thugs of the KGB?"
I considered the fact that I was the chairman of the Washington Times, which in only two and a half years had grown to become quite a formidable force. It was widely recognized as the leader of the anti-communist struggle in North America, and we had done things to rile the Soviet Union on more than a few occasions. We had, for example, effectively prevented the address by then Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev to the U.S. Congress. Since that time, the Soviet Union had considered the Times a big problem.
The Washington Times had also played an important role in having Ronald Reagan's SDI initiative become the national defense policy of the United States. SDI was just about the most effective victory over communism strategy there was and had resulted in the Soviet Union being forced into a very tight spot. Well aware of this fact, the Soviet Union did everything it could to thwart the advancement of this initiative. The Times had stepped to the foreground as a stalwart supporter of SDI and was seen by the Soviets as a "ringleader of evil." Its chairman could easily be considered a candidate for an international rubout.
The driver, clearly the boss, now sat leaning on the desk in front of me. I was still blindfolded. To bring my attention to the pistol that he held in his hands, he let me hear the sound of him loading the bullets. He pulled the trigger several times, and each time he released the trigger, the gun made a loud crack. There were no actual bullets in it yet.
He repeated this several times, presumably to break down my spirits. After a moment, he mumbled, just loud enough for me to hear, "It doesn't matter who you are... Just one pop of these little beauties and it is goodnight forever. I don't see how anyone can keep standing with one of these bullets in the forehead..."
Then he began talking to me directly. "You have committed a really bad crime, pal. You won't be forgiven. You don't know who we are, do you? We get our orders from up above. We're a special kidnap and hit team. Got it? You're going to be executed tonight at twelve o'clock. We're going to kill you quietly and slip you into a big steel can, then dump you into a nice deep pond somewhere out back. The FBI won't find you in a hundred years... Ha, ha, ha."
I asked him, "Who are you doing this for? Who asked you to do this?"
When I got the words out, the boss exploded in anger. "You just think about the crime you've committed and you'll figure it out real quick! What the heck do you think you're asking? You impudent bastard!!"
I asked again: "What crime have I committed? Why should you have to kill me?"
He kicked me harshly with his feet. "You scum! Stop moving your rotten snout!"
Then he changed his tone and sneered sarcastically, "Forgive me. I shouldn't be talking to you like that, when you'll be taking such 'a nice trip' in just a few hours."
After that, he stood directly in front of me and pulled the trigger a few times. Each time he went through the motions, my head started to spin and I felt overwhelmed by fear.
Suddenly, the room got quiet. There was not a sound to be heard, and no sign whatsoever that anyone else was about. I surmised that the thugs had gotten tired of the game and gone to another room to rest. I found that I was tied to three chairs. My left arm was bound to one, my right arm to another, and my body was tightly bound to the chair in the middle. I guess they felt they could safely leave the room with me tied down so securely.
At that point, there was nothing else to do but wait for the appointed execution time of midnight. They were my last moments. In the dark and silence, I went about composing myself. I had already faced death several times during the Korean War, but the experience of having to wait without knowing the reason, after having been unceremoniously kidnapped, was one of unspeakable loneliness and despair. It made me think of how much happier a death it would be to die fighting, in the thick of battle. But I couldn't let myself weaken. In a sense, all my spiritual training and practice of faith until that point had been preparation to meet this kind of life-and-death crisis. So I began to put my faith in order.
First of all, I gave some meaning to this sudden and unexpected kidnapping. "Doesn't it make sense, in a way, that I have been kidnapped?" I reasoned. "Didn't I send True Father into prison? Wasn't it my sins, my failures, that allowed him to he incarcerated? Even though I professed to be attending him, to be supporting him as his special assistant, am I sure it wasn't just words? Did I really attend him at the risk of my life, with all my strength? Did I actually attend him with all my thought, with all my heart and soul? So much of it was for appearance's sake. What a miserable wretch I was. Obviously, someone has to pay the price for Father being sent to prison? If someone has to pay indemnity for that, who else but me? I guess it makes sense that I should die. How could I not realize it before? I have to repent!"
While thinking these thoughts, tears flowed down my cheeks. They weren't tears of loneliness or fear. They were tears of penitence, of contrition.
I prayed: "Heavenly Father! Please forgive such a miserable and wretched son as I have been. I am happy to receive this indemnity. I am happy to take the cup you have given me. I will go with gratitude in my heart. But Father, how can I make my final moments be not in vain, not worthless?"
After this, I made a strong determination deep within myself. OK! I'm going to cheer for God and cheer for True Parents when I die. I'll die cheering. It's the only way I can avoid a meaningless death.
I held this conviction deep inside, then sternly resolved to die.
How much time had passed? The passing minutes felt as heavy as lead. But the surroundings were as quiet as ever, and no sound came into the room.
Then a noise came from what sounded like the basement. It felt like the sound of a steel drum being rolled about. At that moment I remembered what they had said about killing me and putting me into a steel drum, about dumping me like a stone into some pond somewhere.
"Aha.' They are getting the steel drum ready. I guess that it's already twelve o'clock. The final moment is coming. Now is the time. I'm going to shout 'Mansei for God! Mansei for True Parents!' That's the way I will die."
In the final minutes, I thought of my family, whom I loved so much. I mumbled something like a last will and testament. "Ki Sook! My dear wife! I'm going ahead of you. I'm sorry I gave you so much trouble. I've had such a happy life with you. Please live to the fullest, right to the end. Jive for me."
Then I called my children's names one by one. "Precious Na Kyung (Grace). Precious Jun Sun (Jonathan). Precious Jin Sung (James), Hoon Sook (Julia), Yun Sook (Yunny) and Jin Kyung (Samuel). And my daughter-in-law. I'm sorry that I couldn't be a better daddy for you. Take care of your momma for me. And keep a strong faith in True Parents. That's the only thing I want. We'll all meet again someday, won't we? I'm not going to die afraid or like a coward. Make sure you live for God and True Parents."
It seemed like I had said everything I needed to say. "OK," I thought. "Now is the time." With all my strength, I heaved the three chairs I was tied to and stood up, blind like the biblical Samson. I don't know where the strength came from, but I felt almost superhuman. The chairs that were bound to each of my arms were flung high almost to the ceiling, and I shouted three times with all my might:
"Praise God! Praise True Parents!"
"Praise God! Praise True Parents!"
"Praise God! Praise True Parents!"
The two chairs flew through the air and hit the ceiling. My shout was extremely loud. I had never heard anyone shout louder in all my life. It seemed like it would blow the house down. It was my last shout, and it was very satisfying. "I won't die like a dog!" I thought.
The next moment, five or six thugs jumped on me from all directions. They began to kick me indiscriminately and without reservation. They thumped and pummeled me with their fists. The next thing I knew, I felt the muzzle of a gun against my forehead.
"You stupid bastard! If you are so eager to get whacked, then go ahead and shout!"
A second sleazy-sounding fellow also shouted at me. "Where do you think you are, calling for the cops like that? Knock it off! It won't do you any good anyway!"
They thought that I was trying to shout for the police.
This time I felt something hot like a soldering iron burn against my back. I let out a scream. The thing at my back was an electric prod. One guy stuffed some cotton into my mouth to stop me from shouting again. But I still shouted and cried out, inside. They were silent cries. "Praise God! Praise True Parents! Mansei! Mansei! Mansei! Mansei!" I couldn't know when a bullet would come my way. If I had to go, I wanted to be shouting "Mansei!"
I continued to shout "Mansei" over and over again, I don't know how many times. Was it a hundred? A thousand? I kept shouting inside until, finally, I was completely exhausted. My mind became cloudy and confused. In the end, I lost consciousness.
A Dream of Hak Ja Han Moon
I don't know how much time passed. I came around when someone doused me with cold water. I heard the voice of the man I thought was the boss.
"Listen, you. we were going to execute you at twelve o'clock, but we got a call from higher up. It looks like someone is making a real effort to keep you alive. Got it?"
Still blindfolded, I was taken to another room, where there was a steel bed. They made me lie down on it and handcuffed my arms to its metal frame.
"That person is coming here to let us know what to do, so you'd better get some shut-eye in here. Got it?"
I was exhausted. My mind kept getting foggy, and I could not keep my eyes open. I knew it wasn't the time or the place, but I fell into a deep sleep. Suddenly, I woke up. Someone was urgently shaking me awake. "Huh? What's this? Who's this waking me up? Isn't it True Mother?" I thought.
Mother spoke to me urgently. "Bo Hi! What are you doing asleep? Don't you know what is going on? If you don't get out of here within the next ten hours, they'll kill you. You've only got ten hours. Do what you have to do, but you've got to get out of here. Use all your wisdom. All right?"
I woke up. It was a dream. "Wow. What a dream," I thought. "It must be a message. That's how much Heaven is trying to save me!" From somewhere inside, I felt hope and courage surging back into my heart, and my exhaustion disappeared in a flash. My eyes became wide open.
"I've had a revelation!" I thought. "She said I have to get out of here in the next ten hours. I have to use all my wisdom. Thank you, God. Thank you, True Parents. Thank you, Mother."
Even under my blindfold, I could sense that the sun was coming up. In a while, someone came to get me. I figured they were taking me to another room. Now I heard an unfamiliar voice.
"Chairman Pak. I'm very sorry. It seems like these brutes have treated you very badly."
What was this? Although I was still handcuffed and the blindfold was still over my eyes, the tone was surprisingly soft.
"Everyone at home must be worried about you. Here, why don't we make a recording to let them know that you're all right?"
I complied. I knew that everyone would be frantic. Also, the FBI was likely involved by this time. The disappearance of the chairman of the Washington Times wouldn't have been exactly ignored in Washington. I figured that having the kidnappers contact East Garden would probably help the FBI investigation somehow.
In fact, when I didn't show up at the office the evening before, my assistant Tony reported this fact to the church headquarters, and emergency meetings were called in both Washington and New York. The one person most alarmed was Hak Ja Han Moon. She immediately telephoned Danbury, where Reverend Moon was incarcerated at the time. When he heard that I had gone missing, Reverend Moon immediately curled up with both knees underneath him and entered into deep prayer. I later found out that he was awake and in deep prayer the whole time I was kidnapped.
Next, Mrs. Moon called our church staff together and urged that every possible action be taken in case I had actually been kidnapped. Of course, she requested the New York police to investigate as well. Mrs. Moon also instructed the staff to contact Sen. Orrin Hatch in Washington, who then telephoned the director of the FBI directly.
"Mr. Bo Hi Pak is a very close friend," he reportedly said. "Apparently he has gone missing, and it looks like he might have been kidnapped. Can you take care of it? Please, get as many men on it as you can."
When I later found about it, I was very grateful for this display of friendship and support by Senator Hatch. Of course, I had always admired him greatly for his noble character. At Mrs. Moon's impassioned request, the senator stayed in his office late into the night. His office took on the role of a kind of investigation headquarters.
So I spoke into the tape recorder. "Mother," I called. It was possible that these words would be the last record of my voice. If things turned out had, then this would become my last will and testament.
"Mother, I'm all right. Please forgive this unfilial son. I'm all right. Please don't worry at all. The people here are taking good care of me. Your son Bo Hi will always act like a child of God, like a son of True Parents, should. I'm all right at the moment. Don't worry. Father, Mother, thank you."
At the end of the message, I wanted to leave a few words for my wife.
Take care of yourself, Momma. Don't worry too much. Be strong, and live with a full heart, OK? We are together forever in God, aren't we? I love you, Ki Sook.
They conveyed that message to East Garden by phone. The FBI set about tracing the phone call right away. The trace led back to a public phone somewhere in the New York suburbs.
A Small Ray of Hope
The new voice appeared to belong to the ringleader of the whole affair. He and I talked together.
"Pak Sajangnim." He addressed me by my formal title in Korean. Somehow, his voice seemed familiar.
We are people who respect you very much, Dr. Pak, but right now, we are experiencing a very difficult situation. We brought you here to ask you to help us. Right now, we need $1 million. We need you to help us out with this. We used the method we did simply because we are faced with an emergency. However, if you cannot help us out, I'm afraid you'll never see your home again. We have prepared everything here to blow up the house, and we will all die here together.
When I heard the words "one million dollars" I felt like I was struck by lightning. I became extremely focused. "Aha, they were after money all the time. It wasn't political at all. Then perhaps, after all, there is some hope of getting out of this. When True Mother told me in the dream to 'use all my wisdom,' she must have been referring to this. 'You have to get out of here in the next ten hours' seems just about right, too. It's just a matter of time until the FBI search gets closer. If these thugs find themselves surrounded by the FBI, they won't hesitate to kill me and make a run for it."
I quickly made an analysis of the situation, then spoke calmly. "It will be quicker to just kill me right now. Where would I get that kind of money? Unification Church members don't think of money when they work, you know. Do you think I am rich or something? I think you've got the wrong idea. I'm already prepared to die. It won't do you any good waiting around for me to help you."
"But what about the money you are in charge of? As chairman?" The ringleader was apparently thinking about the funds that belonged to the Washington Times.
"How can I use the company's money? Do you think I can just do as I please? It's completely out of the question, so don't pester me about it again, please. It won't do you any good anyway."
At that, he went over and picked up a phone, which he then placed beside me. "OK, now, please call the bank." I was astonished.
"Why on earth should I telephone the bank?"
"You call the bank, then instruct them to bring the money we are asking you for, in cash, to the place that we tell you."
I thought silently for a moment. "Wow! These guys are about as ignorant as you can get. They have absolutely no idea how things work in America. Where on earth would you find a bank that will deliver $1 million to your doorstep after a single phone call? I got the impression that they didn't really understand how serious a crime they were committing in kidnapping someone.
I spoke to them like this: "If I make this phone call, we'll all die. Don't you understand that you are committing kidnapping in bringing me here? Do you know how serious a crime that is? Right now, the FBI will be working in emergency mode all across the nation trying to find where I am. If I make this phone call, the FBI will find out that I am here, and they will have you surrounded in a minute. So you'll be forced to kill me and try to make an escape, won't you? I can't make the phone call, even for your sakes. If you really want me to make this phone call, then just kill me right now and he done with it."
The ringleader then turned to me and said, in an impatient and anxious tone, "Then what can we do? Isn't there some way you can help us? There must be some way you can make a transfer to Switzerland." His tone had completely changed, and now he spoke to me imploringly.
Mother's words to me in the dream ran through my mind: "Use all your wisdom."
I thought again. "Whatever I do, I've got to get out of here. The only thing, then, is to tell them that I have to go to the bank myself. If they insist on keeping me, then they will end up killing me for sure. They said that they have a bank account in Switzerland. As far as I know, it takes at least three days to execute a transfer to a foreign bank. Sometimes it even takes a week. Even if I order a transfer to be made, it seems pretty clear that the FBI will intercept it and stop the transfer before it leaves the country."
I spoke to the boss again. "As you know, American banks go through all sorts of procedures when you try to withdraw cash, even if you only want $10,000. I think you had better forget cash. It's lucky you said you have a Swiss bank account. You'd better give me the details. However, $1 million is way too much. It's just not doable."
The kidnappers' mouths were now watering, and they asked me how much I could manage.
"The most I can get my hands on, with my authority, would be five hundred thousand," I said.
In truth, however, I was confident that I wouldn't have to hand over to them a measly five dollars, let alone five hundred thousand. I thank the grace of Heaven that these hoodlums didn't know a thing about banks.
"OK, then five hundred thousand will do," the ringleader said. "Here, make the phone call."
I knew my response had to be very clear. "It can't he done with just a phone call," I replied. "If you want me to just make the phone call, then you'd better go ahead and shoot me."
"All right. All right. Then, how? Tell me how we can get the transfer."
I kept silent for a while, with a downcast expression on my face. They began to get quite anxious.
I slowly opened my mouth to speak. "MImm. I don't think you'll agree to it. You won't like it."
That made them even more agitated.
"Don't be like that. Come on. Tell us," said the leader.
Now I had truly arrived at the crossroads. It was a matter of life or death. I gave them my answer resolutely.
"A telephone call is absolutely out of the question. Didn't I tell you that that will only get all of us killed? The only way it can he done is if I go to the bank myself. The bank is in Washington. It's open until three in the afternoon, so I can still make it if you take me to La Guardia airport straight away. I can catch the noon shuttle flight, arrive in Washington at one o'clock, and make it to the bank by two o'clock to do all the transfer procedures. However, no one can follow me.
I have to go alone. All right? So make your decision. You've got two choices. Either you kill me, or you take my word and send me to the airport. Make your choice."
I really put that last piece in place magnificently. When I think about it now, I don't know where on earth I found the nerve or how I could be so shrewd. It was really God's support. God was surely with me. The dream with True Mother showed me that.
This moment would decide life or death. "Hananim Aboji! Heavenly Father!" I called out silently time and again.
After a moment, the boss gave his orders. "Get the car ready to take Mr. Pak to the airport!" He had accepted my proposal. They had decided to put their faith in my sincerity.
I asked them to bring me my clothes. They removed my blindfold for the first time, and my eyes were filled with sunlight. It seemed like I hadn't seen the sun for such a long time. I looked at their faces. Each of them was distinct. But it wouldn't do to let my guard down. I wasn't safe yet. There was no telling when the FBI might show up.
I made haste. I got them to bring my glasses to me. I picked up my watch. It had been a present from True Father. It was my lucky charm. The hands on the watch indicated that the time was half past ten.
The chain part of my tiepin was dangling on the shirt I was wearing. It had been broken. The pin itself must be with my tie, I thought, but it didn't seem likely that it could have survived the violence of my encounter in the car the day before. The tiepin was studded with a small diamond, and was quite a treasure to me. It had been True Father's. True Mother had given it to me one day, saying, "If you wear this it is sure to give you protection. Make sure you always wear it, won't you?"
For a moment, a thought flashed through my mind. If my diamond tiepin were still attached to my tie, it would definitely be a good omen. If, on the other hand, the tiepin had been lost, I would be facing a difficult time in getting out of this situation alive.
I asked them to bring me my necktie. When I got it in my hands, the first thing I did was look for the tiepin. The tiepin was there, attached to the tie as usual. "A good omen! I've made it!" I put myself in order. When I went to the bathroom to comb my hair. I saw in the mirror that my face was pale.
When I came out of the bathroom, they took me to the front door. All the kidnappers, the whole gang of them, were lined up in a row, bowing as if they were seeing off their own company president. I shook hands with each of them. At the end of the line, I gave a firm handshake to the ringleader. He didn't say a thing, but his expression was one of earnest petition.
When I stepped out the front door, I found the Lincoln that they used to kidnap me the day before was waiting with its engine running. I carefully watched to see if anyone would get in the car after me, but no one did. The man who drove us yesterday sat in the driver's seat. I shook the hand of the ringleader once again with all the pomp of a general on his way to war.
It took a little more than one hour to get to La Guardia airport. At the airport, the driver mumbled, "I'm very sorry," over and over again. It was quite a contrast from the day before, to say the least. When I left to board the plane, he kept saying, "Thank you. Please give it your best." He also managed to bow a full ninety degrees. (In Korea, such a deep bow indicates deep respect or obeisance.) The next moment I was free.
I avoided going to a phone straight away. There was no telling what they were doing or if they were following me, so my first move was to catch the midday shuttle to Washington. I thought, "God has spared my life once again." As soon as I arrived at National Airport, I took a taxi to the bank.
Without explaining my unusual situation, I told them that I wanted to make a transfer to Switzerland. The clerk in charge of foreign remittances explained to me that the day's foreign transfers had finished at two o'clock, and that I would have to wait for the next day. That's even better, I thought to myself.
I asked her if it were possible to fill out tomorrow's application today. I wanted to set the condition that I had done everything I promised I would do, even if the thugs who kidnapped me were criminals. I couldn't be responsible for what would happen to them from this point on, but I didn't want them to accuse me of deceiving them.
The clerk drew up the application. "How long will it take for the money to be transferred to the Swiss account?" I asked. She told me that because the money had to go through the New York branch, it would take at least a week. Under those conditions, I felt quite confident that I wouldn't lose even a single cent. At least I had kept my word, however. I did exactly what I had promised them I would do.
When I left the bank I went directly back home to my house in McLean, Virginia. I rang the front doorbell and waited. A man I had never seen before answered the door. He looked me in the face and asked me, "Who are you?"
"I'm the owner of this house. I'm Colonel Pak."
The young man was so surprised that it looked as if he was about to faint. "I'm with the FBI. What are you doing back here?" he said. He called FBI headquarters on his radio and reported my return.
"Oh, my God! Can you believe Pak is back in one piece?" he said. When a victim returns from a kidnapping, it is usually in several pieces.
There was no one at home, not even my wife. As soon as she got the news of my kidnapping, my wife had gone to East Garden to be with True Mother and other church leaders. I called East Garden and asked to speak to True Mother.
"Mother! It's me, Bo Hi! I'm back!"
"Wha ... what?" Mother was so surprised she couldn't even talk.
According to what my wife told me later, the moment True Mother got my call, she sank down in her seat. Her legs could no longer hold her up. I guess that just about sums up True Mother's love.
"Mother, I've come back and I'm all right. Thank you, Mother. I'll be there as soon as I can."
Mother managed to reply, "Here's Ki Sook," and handed the phone to my wife.
"Ki Sook! I'm sorry to cause you so much worry! Ki Sook! You thought you'd never see me again, didn't you?"
"Mother was truly worried. True Father, too. In Danbury. ..." Ki Sook was so choked up, she couldn't speak.
The news that I was back was immediately telephoned to Danbury. As I later found out, Father had been fasting and praying continuously. He only stopped when he got the news I was back. When True Mother told him that I had returned safely, Father said, "Really? And he's not hurt? That's wonderful!" After he hung up the phone, he turned to Mr. Kamiyama, who was standing beside him, and said, "I'm going to rest a bit."
Mr. Kamiyama later told us that Father began to snore as soon as he lay down. "It was the first time I have ever seen Father snore so loudly," he said. Reverend Moon must have been extremely tired. He had been praying continuously for some forty hours.
Who should I thank for my safe return? I'm certain it was Father's prayers in Danbury that preserved my life. In his prayers he surely mobilized many angels and good spirits to cone to my aid. The other thing that saved me was a mother's love. How great is True Mother's love? She reached out even to my dreams. In that way, she guided me out of that dark and dismal situation. I am truly blessed; I live in the midst of such powerful true love, and it is completely crystal clear for whom and for what I should and must devote myself all my life.
Once again I had escaped the jaws of death, and once again I was indebted. In the wake of the kidnapping experience, I began my life once again in the midst of a new level of grace and gratitude.
After my phone call to True Mother, FBI agents escorted me to East Garden in New York so that I could report everything in detail to the FBI investigators there.
The kidnappers were caught almost right away. Only the ringleader slipped away. He escaped to Japan, only to be apprehended by the Japanese government and extradited to the United States. The $500,000 never even left the bank, thanks to the FBI, which acted swiftly to put everything in order and tie up all the details. In the end, the news of my kidnapping simply attracted a lot of coverage in the Korean newspapers.
I sometimes wonder if the kidnapping was actually meant to be a test of my faith. It goes without saying that people should live the right way. Everyone can understand that; it is plain common sense. But even more important is the way we die. We must live in a good way so that we can die in a good way. Dying well is much more important than living well. (Editor's note: On Dec. 5, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York charged six men with conspiracy to kidnap, and with the kidnapping of Dr. Pak. In addition, they were charged with conspiracy to extort money, and an attempt to extort money from Dr. Pak and his company.)