The Korean Robin Hood -Im Kkeok Jeong(임꺽정)
In 1559, during the Joseon Dynasty(조선시대), the political situation in Joseon was such that people’s lives were blighted by corrupt government officials and many were starving to death.Because the government officials were busy taking money from the poor, Im Kkeokjeong decided to take action.
Im Kkeok Jeong was born in Gyeonggi Province(경기도). His father was a butcher, which was considered one of the dirtiest jobs. He grew up to be a straw sandal maker, but later the government made a new law stating that the straw fields are the property of the government and that the users should pay the government a tax.
According to books, Im Kkeok Jeong was said to be 2 meters tall and could kill a tiger withhis bare hands. He is most famous for his strength, which was was legendary. He is credited with killing hundreds during his battles.
He started off with a band of just 6 friends, but later the number grew as he began killing rich people and giving out food to the poor.His group of thieves eventually grew to number in the hundreds. They even built a small wooden castle and called themselves Noklimdang(The green forest union 녹림당). As time passed, even the state army couldn’t beat them so Hwanghae province(황해도) became largely ungovernable. Finally, in the year 1562, the government sent a massive army of 3000 elite soldiers to hunt down and kill him. On January 1562, Im Kkeokjeong died during a great epic battle with government soldiers.
Even to this day he is considered one of the 3 greatest thieves in Korean history alongside Hong Gil-dong(홍길동) and Jang Gil-san(장길산). He is a great Korean hero and all children learn about him. There is a big statue of him in his hometown and there have been many movies and dramas about his life.