North’s assassin was ‘double agent’

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North’s assassin was ‘double agent’

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A North Korean defector arrested last month for trying to kill a human rights activist in Seoul was actually a kind of double agent, the JoongAng Ilbo learned from prosecutors.

The defector, identified as a 54-year-old surnamed An, was indicted and detained by prosecutors on an assassination charge yesterday.

An was arrested Sept. 3 by NIS officials at Sinnonhyeon subway station and found to be carrying a vial of poison and a poison dart gun designed to look like a flashlight.

He was waiting to kill Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector who sends anti-North propaganda on giant balloons across the DMZ. Park and An had met in the 1990s, and An had called Park to arrange a meeting at Sinnonhyeon subway station on Sept. 3.

He was allegedly ordered to kill Park by North Korea. National Intelligence Service agents warned Park about the attack and arrested An at the meeting place.

But prosecutors told the JoongAng Ilbo that An had a history of cooperating with the NIS and had even informed it of an earlier assassination attempt he had been ordered to carry out.

According to prosecutors, An escaped the North in 1995, and ran a kimchi manufacturing factory in China. The business was not successful and then he worked as an executive of a South Korean company doing trade with North Korea from third countries.

In March 2010, An was in Mongolia researching new business opportunities and met a senior official of the North Korean Embassy there. The two met several times and he was introduced to another North Korean official, supposedly named Kim, at the embassy last November.

Kim worked for the North Korean agency handling spying activities overseas. After he learning that An had defected to the South after 22 years of military service in the North, he asked An to kill Kim Deok-hong, who defected with Hwang Jang-yop, former secretary of the Workers’ Party of the North, in 1997. Hwang was the highest ranking North Korean to ever defect.

An returned to the South and reported the assassination order to the NIS. He said he would gather more information for the NIS on additional trips to Mongolia.

The NIS warned him that further trips to Mongolia were dangerous, but An returned in March in fear of losing business opportunities. During that trip, An received additional prods from Kim to kill Kim Deok-hong in South Korea.

“If you succeed in assassinating him, we will let your mother, who is currently living in a controlled district [with limited freedoms], to move to Pyongyang and live a comfortable life,” Kim was quoted as saying by An, prosecutors said. “We will also provide much assistance for your businesses.”

An agreed, and returned to the South with the intention of killing Kim Deok-hong. He couldn’t locate him, however, and the target was changed by his handlers in the North to Park Sang-hak.

An tried to lure Park to see him saying that someone from Japan was willing to help Park spread anti-North leaflets and they could discuss it at a Japanese restaurant in Gangnam.

He planned to kill Park with poison, possibly by lacing a drink, which he hid in a small cosmetics bottle. He was also carrying a poison dart gun that looked like a flashlight and a pen equipped with a poisoned needle. The NIS arrested him as he waited at the Sinnonhyeon subway station.


By Park Jin-seok, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

‘독침 테러’ 기도한 안씨는 이중간첩

국정원 만류에도 출국 … 지령 받아
독약 암살 임무수행 중 현장서 체포

“몽골에 다시 가서 북한 정보를 얻어오겠습니다.”(안모씨)

 “안 됩니다. 납치될 수도 있습니다.”(국정원 직원)

 올해 1월 서울시내에서 두 남자가 은밀하게 대화를 나눴다. 대화의 주인공은 박상학 자유북한운동연합 대표를 살해하려 한 혐의로 지난 6일 구속기소된 탈북자 안모(54)씨와 국가정보원 요원 강모씨였다. 안씨는 이 자리에서 북한 공작원으로부터 전 북한 여광무역 대표 김덕홍(73)씨를 죽이라는 지령을 받았다는 사실을 털어놓았다. 안씨가 올 초까지만 해도 북한과 국정원에 모두 정보를 제공해 온 이른바 ‘이중간첩’이었기 때문에 가능한 일이었다. 7일 서울중앙지검 공안1부와 안씨 공소장에 따르면 1995년 북한을 탈출한 안씨는 중국에서 김치공장을 운영하다가 실패한 뒤 2009년부터 한국에 있는 대북교역 업체인 남북경협의 이사로 재직해 왔다. 그가 대북교역 사업의 현장으로 점찍은 곳이 몽골이었다. 그는 지난해 3월 몽골 수도 울란바토르에 가서 북한대사관 대외봉사총국 대표 김모씨를 만났고 이후 몇 차례에 걸쳐 사업에 대한 논의를 했다.

 김씨는 그해 11월 다시 몽골을 방문한 안씨에게 북한대사관의 김모 국장이라는 사람을 소개했다. 김 국장은 북한의 대남, 해외 공작업무를 총괄 지휘하는 정찰총국 소속 요원이었다. 안씨가 탈북자며 북한에서 22년 동안 군복무를 했다는 사실을 파악한 김 국장은 안씨에게 “김덕홍씨를 암살해 달라”고 요구했다.

 안씨는 귀국 후 이를 국정원에 알렸고, 국정원 요원 강씨는 신변 안전을 이유로 안씨의 몽골행을 막았다. 하지만 생업을 위해 북한과의 연결 고리가 절실했던 그는 올해 3월 말 몽골행 비행기에 올랐다. 안씨를 기다리고 있던 건 가족을 볼모로 한 회유였다. 결국 그는 만년필 모양의 독총 1개와 볼펜 모양의 독침 1개, 독약이 든 캡슐 3개를 건네받고 귀국했다.

 그러나 김덕홍씨의 소재 파악이 불가능했기 때문에 테러 대상은 박 대표로 바뀌었다. 안씨는 박 대표와 연락해 지난달 3일 서울 강남 지역의 한 일식집에서 만나기로 약속했다. 술에 독약을 타 그를 살해하겠다고 마음먹고 작은 화장품병에 독약을 담았고, 만약을 대비해 독총도 휴대했다. 하지만 현장에서 그를 맞은 건 박 대표가 아니라 국정원 요원들이었다. 안씨의 박 대표 암살 계획은 이렇게 막을 내렸다.  

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