[EDITORIALS]Breathtaking Abuse of Authority

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[EDITORIALS]Breathtaking Abuse of Authority

The National Intelligence Service and its predecessor, the Agency for National Security Planning, invented Susie Kim as a North Korean operative and covered up her murder by her husband. That is an example of how much law enforcement can be corrupted. When we think about the pain felt by family members of Ms. Kim, who was falsely accused of espionage for North Korea, we are outraged again at the unscrupulous and inhumane abuse of power that agency officials stooped to. It is also shocking that senior NIS officials stopped the police's investigation of the case. There have been many suspicions raised about the NIS. No wonder that we would not argue the case is an isolated one.

According to the facts revealed so far, the intelligence agency and Ms. Kim's husband, Yoon Tae-shik, seem to have fabricated the case. In 1986 Mr. Yoon killed his wife by strangling her in a fight. Then he tried to defect to North Korea, to no avail. When things didn't work out for him, he lied to the agency about the case, saying he escaped from Ms. Kim, an operative for North Korea, who had tried to kidnap him to North Korea. The NSP, in January 1987, announced that there had been an aborted attempt by North Korea to abduct a Korean living in Hong Kong to North Korea, along with the press conference held for Mr. Yoon.

Even after the NIS knew what really happened, it changed a murder into an espionage case for the political benefit of the then-ruling party; a presidential election was scheduled later in 1987. There have been many cases in which the Korean Central Intelligence Agency or its successor, the NSP, was charged with infringing on human rights or torturing people. But this is the first time that the intelligence agency is discovered to have simply invented a case. The NSP is said to have been given a statement by Mr Yoon, saying that he murdered his wife. There can be no excuse for the NSP's actions.

After the case was fabricated, Ms. Kim's family has had to suffer greatly from being labeled as a family of communists. The wretched lives they had to lead thereafter demonstrate that political maneuvering based on anti-communism ideology, not humanity, is still going on.

Early last year the police started investigating the case again after they received evidence and related materials from the Hong Kong police. Senior officials of the NIS demanded that the police turn over all the evidence and materials to them and stop the investigation, because the case was related to North Korea. The NIS demand means that the spirit of political maneuvering by the intelligence agency is still alive. If the NIS tried to cover up a crime committed by the NSP, it seems to tell us they are the same group, only with a different name. Why should a simple murder case be categorized as a case involving North Korea, not only by the NSP but also by the NIS?

The entire truth about Ms Kim's case should be dug up and revealed to the public, though belatedly. The people responsible for the fabrication and cover-up should be punished. This is not a case where we have to be bound by statutes of limitations. We have to come up with ways to punish those responsible. We need to show the people that public officials' inhumane, criminal acts under the pretext of duty cannot be shielded by the statute of limitations and buried. NIS officials should also be held responsible for discouraging the police investigation last year - they should face criminal charges if that is possible. The National Intelligence Service should also compensate Ms. Kim's family for their 14-year ordeal.
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