In March 1909 12 patriots including Ahn Joong-Gun swore an oath to sacrifice themselves for “the restoration of independence and preservation of peace in the East” forming the Donguidanjihoe society. As part of this they all cut off the first joint of their ring finger to show their faith in the cause.
When the Resident-General of Korea, Hiro-Bumi Ito arrived at Harbin on 26th October 1909 it was to meet with Russian Finance Minister General Kokotseff. Russia was starting to get nervous about the Japanese after they had gifted “territorial rights” to Kando, a Korean city, to the Chinese on 4th September 1909 in exchange for access to Manchuria via the Southern Manchurian Railway. As the man who had total control of all Japanese forces stationed in Korea, Resident-General Hiro-Bumi Ito was to reassure and calm the Russian’s fears.
However, Ahn Joong Gun was already there waiting for him, having slipped by the Japanese guards with a gun hidden in his lunch box. As Hiro-Bumi Ito stepped off the train Ahn Joong Gun fired his pistol, shooting him 3 times and seriously injuring 4 other Japanese ministers. He then waved a Korean flag and shouted for Korean Independence in Russian. Russian guards arrested him and held him for 2 days before turning him over to the Japanese. On reflection of the murder, Joong Gun was stated to have said ” I have ventured to commit a serious crime, offering my life for my country. This is the behaviour of a noble-minded patriot”.
Our bonus exercise for this location is 271 prisoner squats. From Harbin Railway Station we will now travel 116 miles south west to Nong’an County.