SEOUL, South Korea -- A North Korean woman who placed a time bomb on a Korean Air jetliner in 1987 that disappeared with 115 people aboard said Wednesday she still feels guilty and punishes herself by not buying all the dresses she wants.
Kim Hyon-hui, 28, convicted of the atrocity and given a death sentence that was later commuted, met with reporters at a Seoul hotel, looking healthy and well-heeled in a blue dress.
'As a woman, as a human being, I have the same desires as others,' Kim said in a soft voice. 'There are many things I want to have and there are many dresses I would like to wear. But because of my position I restrain myself.'
Kim, a beauty who created a sensation in South Korea during her trial, said she spends her days watching television but she does go shopping at times with her escorts.
Although Kim has been living in a government house with women guards who allow her freedom of movement, she said she still feels she is a captive.
'Being a culprit I do have a sense of agony with which I must fight,' she said. 'In that sense I must still be a prisoner or a captive -- of a sense of guilt.'
Kim and an elderly North Korean man boarded a KAL airliner at Baghdad, Iraq, the night of Nov. 28, 1987. The pair got off the plane three hours later when it stopped over at Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, leaving behind a time bomb.
The plane vanished over Southeast Asia while heading to Bangkok, Thailand, en route to Seoul. It is believed to have crashed in the ocean, killing the 115 people on board.
Kim and her companion went from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain where they were arrested. Kim's companion committed suicide, but she was put on trial in Seoul and given a death sentence. Her sentence was commuted by a special pardon because of her potential as a witness to North Korean atrocities.
Kim said she is trying to learn more about South Korea and adapt herself to life in the country, which has been divided from North Korea since the end of World War II.
'After nearly three years in Seoul, I have come to realize that there is freedom of expression in South Korea, which is unimaginable in the North where (President) Kim Il-sung is God,' she said.
Asked whether she thought of marrying, Kim replied, 'I am guilty of a heinous crime. How do I dare to think of marriage?'