Indictment issued for fake IDs to visit North

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Indictment issued for fake IDs to visit North

Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted a South Korean businessman without physical detention on charges of violating the National Security Law and laws guiding inter-Korean exchanges after helping people, including politicians, to illegally enter North Korea last fall.

The indicted man, identified only as Ahn, is a 49-year-old executive of a landscaping subcontractor for a South Korean company at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Last October, Ahn allegedly provided false identifications for 59 people, including four members of the Paju city legislative council in Gyeonggi Province. They were disguised as employees of Ahn’s company when they traveled to Kaesong from Oct. 16 to 17. Of the 59, 50 who only traveled once, including the four Paju council members, were released. Nine others were indicted for crossing the border at least twice.

Prosecutors said the travelers didn’t intend to fake their IDs but Ahn, who handled their registration process, did the doctoring work just before they crossed the border. Prosecutors also said Ahn, who was trying to win a contract within Kaesong, wanted to show off his clout to North Korean officials by arranging visits for Paju council members. For South Koreans, traveling to North Korea requires a formal authorization from the government. Providing false personal information for that purpose is illegal.

The 59 are also suspected of paying respects to the statue of the North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, but they all denied the charge, prosecutors said.

The Unification Ministry has introduced a tighter pre-registration process for would-be South Korean travelers to Kaesong. Under the new system, employees of South Korean companies operating in Kaesong must submit proof of employment.

Kaesong officials may register on the complex’s management committee Web site at http://oks.kidmac.com and attach proof of employment. Those visiting for social or cultural exchanges or for humanitarian causes may apply separately at the Unification Ministry.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

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