Spy off the hook after recanting, falling ill

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Spy off the hook after recanting, falling ill

An alleged North Korean spy who was gathering information about the Seoul subway system has been set free because she’s grown to love South Korea and needs a liver transplant.

Kim Mi-hwa, 36, was indicted on May 23 for obtaining information about Seoul’s subway system from a 52-year-old former executive of Seoul Metro via webcam chats and instant messaging. She contacted him while running a travel agency in Zhangjiaje, Hunan Province, China from 2006 to 2007 and developed a romantic relationship with him.

The former executive, surnamed Oh, was also indicted for giving Kim details about the subway’s emergency call network and emergency contingencies.

But yesterday, the Seoul Center District Prosecutor’s Office suspended Kim’s indictment because she wrote a persuasive statement explaining that she has grown to love life in the South, and needs a liver transplant.

An official said, “Kim used to think the [North Korean] Labor Party offered the best life on Earth, but after coming to South Korea she was attracted to the freedom and wealth the country offers. She also agreed to aid other related investigations.”

Suspension of indictments is allowed under the 20th article of the National Security Law. Kim’s indictment will expire in two years if she does not participate in any spying activity.

The prosecution also said that Kim was forced to be a spy to avoid punishment after she lost her Labor Party badge in 1997.

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