THE ENEMY: Beggars' Island

The Americans who run it call it Beggars' Island. Koje is a rocky, dun-colored dollop, 20 miles southwest of Pusan in the Korea Strait. On this island, in a cluster of barbed-wire compounds, the U.N. keeps its war prisoners—110,000 North Koreans and 17,000 Chinese—plus about 40,000 civilian internees.

"Each compound," says one high-ranking officer, "seethes with intrigue—half figuring ways to escape, the rest pressure groups fighting each other. Killings? Plenty of them. The victims are usually beaten to death with tent poles." So far, on Beggars' Island, some 30 or 40 prisoners...

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