In 2003, after waging a three-month vigil to protest working conditions, Kim Ju-ik, a 40-year-old father of three, hanged himself in the crane’s control room. His suicide note proclaimed, “This is a country where a laborer has to risk his life to live like a human.”
Kim Jin-suk has no intentions of suicide, instead vowing to stay put until workers win back their jobs.
On the ground, dozens of private security officers roam the fences around the yard, which have been buttressed by spirals of concertina wire.
For her protection, fellow activists monitor Kim’s movements via a camera in a nearby apartment building — footage that is broadcast on the Internet 24 hours a day.
In June, officials cut off electricity to the crane’s control room. Each day, as her body weakens, Kim says, she thinks of the deceased activist for the willpower to continue her protest.
“I am sitting at the place where Ju-ik sat. I sleep where Ju-ik slept and I see the last view of the world Ju-ik saw before passing away,” she wrote in a letter. “And I am going to do it, the thing that Ju-ik wanted to do so much but couldn’t do at last: Walk down the crane of my own free will.”