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The Left Police Bureau of Joseon Dynasty located in Jongno-3 Ga, Seoul, and the Right Police Bureau near Gwanghwamun Station are the martyrdom sites of 22 Saints of the 103 Saints of Korean Catholic history, 5 of the 124 Blessed who have been beatified in 2014, and 23 of the 133 Servants of God who have fought for their belief, cruelly tortured, and became martyrs.
The Left and Right Police Bureaus of Joseon had no choice but to be closely related to persecution of Catholicism because of its original duty (finding out people who spread groundless rumors) ever since the establishment of Korean Catholic Church in the winter of 1784. During the Buk-San Incident of 1795, the Left Police Bureau attempted to arrest Chinese Priest Zhou Wen-Mo (James), making the bureau directly involved in the persecution. During this incident, Choi In-Gil (Matthias), Yoon Yoo-Il (Paulus), and Ji-Hwang (Sabas) were arrested, brutally beaten, and was martyred at the Left Police Bureau, which is known as the Eul-Myo Persecution. As seen here, the history of persecution of Catholic started in the Left Police Bureau.

* Buk-San Incident: The incident in which the Police Bureau sent soldiers and officers to Kye-Dong after finding out the whereabouts of Zhu Wen-Mo, who had been hiding under Kye-Dong, under Buk Mountain (Buk-ak Mountain), but failed to arrest thanks to the wits of leaders

In 1801, six years after the Eul-Myo Persecution, Shin-Yu Persecution took place. Upon the orders to persecute, the government ordered both Bureaus to arrest the Catholic believers in Seoul and Gyeonggi-Do areas. Among the arrested, the leaders were forcefully sent to Hyeong-Jo and EuiGeum-Bu, and the rest were sentenced to cruel punishment and torture in the two Bureaus. Father Zhou Wen Mo (James), after turning himself in, also was interrogated in the Bureau, sent to EuiGeum-Bu, and was beheaded. Meanwhile, the blessed, Shim Ah-Gi (Barbara), Kim Ee-Woo (Barnabas), Park Chung-Hwan and Cho Shin-Hang, were gloriously martyred under the beatings of the Bureau. Throughout history, the Police Bureaus of Joseon Dynasty have become important martyrdom sites and evidence of faith for the martyrs of Shin-Yu Persecution.
Afterwards, tracking down Catholic believers became an important mission for the two Bureaus. However, believers often hid their identity or looked for refuge in Gyo-Woo Chon, a secret faith community. The Bureaus could not make any arrests for a while and came close to giving up as time passed. In 1832, Hwang Suk-Ji (Peter), a secret emissary, was captured in Ah-Hyeon, punished by the Left Police Bureau and Hyeong-Jo, and martyred in 1833 at the Left Police Bureau due to sickness.
During Gi-Hae Persecution of 1839, more believers had the glory of witnessing their faith or being martyred at the Police Bureaus. Bishop Saint Imbert (Bum Laurencio), Priest Saint Manbant (Na Peter), Priest Saint Chastan (Jeong James), Saint Jeong Ha-Sang (Paulus), Saint Yoo Jin-Gil (Augustino) had to fight against the cruel punishment of the bureaus. Especially Saint Jeong Guk-Bo (Protasius), Saint Jang Sung-Jib (Joseph), and Saint Choi Kyung-Hwan (Francisco) had the glory of matyrdom under the beatings of the Bureaus, and a 13-year-old young Saint Yoo Dae-Chul (Peter), Saint Min Geuk-Ga (Stephano), and Saint Jeong Hwa-Kyung (Andrea) were hanged at the Bureau. Saint Kim Barbara and Saint Lee Barbara died due to illness resulting from punishment and cruelty in prison.
Afterwards, the two Police Bureaus have become an important evidence of faith and a place of martyrdom for persecution of Catholic believers. In 1841, Choi Young-Soo (Philippus), who wrote <Gi-Hae Il-Gi>, was hanged at the Right Police Bureau. During Byeong-Oh Persecution in 1846, Priest Saint Kim Dae-Gun (Andrea), President Saint Hwang Seok-Doo (Luca), and President Saint Jang Joo-Gi (Joseph) took effort in spreading the God's words, not fearing the punishment from Bureaus. From 1868 to 1871, Lee Yoo-Il (Antonio), Han Yong-Ho (Benedicto), and Choi Sa-Gwan (Jeronimo) were martyred at the Left Police Bureau.
The history of persecution by the Bureaus had seemingly come to an end. However, even after the official persecution ended when Regent Heungseon Daewon-gun stepped down, persecution continued on. Ridel (Felix), the 6th head of Joseon Diocese and Priest Deguette (Choi Dong-Jin, Victor) were arrested and exiled to China each in 1878 and 1879. At the same time, Catholic believers were also arrested and were subjected to interrogation and punishment by the Bureaus. Among them, Lee Byung-Kyo (Leo), Kim Duk-Bin (Paulus), and Lee Yong-Hun (Isidor) starved to death in 1879 at the Left Police Bureau, and they were the last martyrs of the Korean Catholic Church.
According to the Church‘s martyrdom reports and official records, roughly 1600~1700 people had been martyred for 14 years from Byung-In Persecution of 1866 to Gi-Myo Persecution of 1879, of which martyrs in Seoul are estimated to be 576. Among 576, those whose martyrdom places were identified were 149. Among 149, 106 (71.14%) were identified to have been martyred at the Police Bureaus, which confirms that the Police Bureaus of Joseon Dynasty were the biggest martyrdom sites in Seoul.
From the perspective of 'witnesses of faith,' this is where a total of 122 people have proved their faith, including 70 saints, 31 blessed, and 18 servants of God only in the Bureaus. Therefore, the Bureaus are the “the most significant places that show witnesses of faith in Korean Catholic history." Martyrs have got the glory of martyrdom from the execution sites such as the West Gate, through the Left and the Right Police Bureaus, and Danggo-gae, Saenam-teo, Jeol-du Mountain, and other regional places. During the execution process, the police bureaus became important symbols of martyrdom.
Despite the fact that the Police Bureaus are 'Place of witnesses' and 'place of martyrdom' for many believers who have sacrificed their lives for their beliefs, they were not recognized as important in the history of Catholic Church. However, a new light was shed on the Bureaus when Cardinal Yeom Soo-Jung designated Jongno Cathedral as the 'Police Bureau Martyrdom Site Cathedral' in February 2013. The Cathedral has also set up a 'Memorial Place for Catholic Martyrs' at the basement of the building in September of the same year. The Police Bureaus, of which 22 of the 103 Saints, 5 of the Blessed, and 23 of the 133 Servants of God have martyred, finally became open to public.
In this regard, the Police Bureaus, where the biggest number of martyrs and witnesses have been originated, is an important martyrdom place and a place for witnesses of faith that the Korean Catholic Church should cherish and further convey their crucial meaning to the next generation.

(Note: The Police Bureaus and the History of Catholic Persecution in the Late Joseon Dynasty)