중앙데일리

North assassins foiled in bid to kill top defector

김정일 “황장엽 X만도 못한 … 가족 등 2000명 숙청하라”
Trained in China, posed as refugees to murder Kim’s ex-mentor Hwang

Apr 20,2010
Two North Korean agents sent to South Korea to assassinate Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking official ever to defect from Pyongyang, have been arrested, intelligence and law enforcement authorities announced yesterday.

According to the National Intelligence Service and prosecutors, Kim Myong-ho, 36, and Dong Myong-gwan, 36, have been arrested. Both men were majors of the North Korean Army’s reconnaissance bureau, the authorities said.

The two agents were ordered in November by the bureau’s chief, Colonel General Kim Yong-chol, to assassinate Hwang, the former secretary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.

Hwang, who used to be ranked the 24th most powerful person in the North, defected to the South in February 1997 by taking refuge in the South Korean consulate in Beijing. Since his defection, Hwang has faced numerous assassination threats.

Hwang is the architect of juche, the self-reliance ideology of the North Korean regime.

According to the authorities, the agents were sent to China last December and received training.

The men then smuggled themselves into Thailand posing as North Korean defectors with the intention of being arrested by Thai authorities. Kim was sent to the South in January this year and Dong the next month.

“The Thai authorities send arrested North Korean defectors automatically to South Korea, and the two agents took advantage of the policy,” said a prosecution source.

The covers of the two agents, however, were exposed during National Intelligence Service interviews upon their arrivals in the South. During follow-up interrogation, the two men confessed their mission to assassinate Hwang, prosecution sources said.

Prosecution sources said the two men had attempted to kill themselves during interrogation. They are being watched around the clock to prevent suicide, the source said.

The two men are being detained at the Seoul Detention Center in Gyeonggi.

The National Intelligence Service and the prosecution said they will expand the investigation to look into the possibility that the agents were going to contact spies already in the South.

It is not the first time that North Korea has made an attempt to assassinate a senior North Korean defector. Lee Han-yong, a nephew of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s ex-wife, Song Hye-rim, was killed in South Korea in 1997. At the time, no suspect was arrested, but the National Intelligence Service concluded that Lee was murdered by the North’s agents.




By Lee Chul-jae, Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

정찰총국 개편 이후 간첩 직파는 처음



전 북한 노동당 비서인 황장엽씨를 살해하라는 지령을 받고 북한에서 남파된 간첩 2명이 구속됐다.

이들은 북한에서 대남 및 해외 공작업무를 담당하는 인민무력부 정찰총국 소속으로, 최근 서해에서 발생한 천안함 침몰과도 관련있는 것이 아닌지 우리 당국에서 의심하는 것으로 전해졌다.

서울중앙지검 공안1부(이진한 부장검사)와 국가정보원은 북한 정찰총국의 지령을 받고 위장 탈북해 국내에서 황씨를 살해하려던 혐의(국가보안법 위반)로 김모(36)씨와 동모(36)씨를 20일 구속했다.

검찰에 따르면 이들은 지난해 11월 정찰총국 총국장으로부터 '황씨를 살해하라'는 지시를 받아 같은해 12월 중국 옌지를 거쳐 탈북자로 가장해 태국으로 밀입국했다가 강제추방 형식으로 한국에 입국한 혐의를 받고 있다.

이들은 위장 탈북을 의심한 국정원 조사 과정에서 공작원 교육을 받고 황씨의 살해 지령을 받았다는 사실을 자백했다고 검찰은 전했다.
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