N. Korean spy gets 5 years in prison

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N. Korean spy gets 5 years in prison

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A former North Korean spy who sought asylum in South Korea was sentenced to five years in jail for her spying activities before coming to Seoul, court officials said Friday.

The 46-year-old ex-agent of the North's State Security Ministry was indicted on spying and other charges after defecting to South Korea through Thailand a year ago.

The Seoul Central District Court cleared her of charges that she defected to the South by posing as a defector, citing lack of proof, but found her guilty of engaging in spying activities before coming to Seoul.

The court also ordered that her rights, such as suffrage, be stripped for five years after her release from prison, officials said.

According to the court documents, the woman surnamed Lee had stayed in China from 2001 through 2006, engaging in such activities as luring Korean-Americans to North Korea and earning badly needed foreign currency for the impoverished nation.

But the court handed down the light punishment, recognizing that she has engaged in no such activities since 2007.

Throughout the trial, the agent maintained her innocence, claiming that the Seoul's national intelligence agents had fabricated the case and that she is just an ordinary defector, officials said.

South Korea has recently arrested a number of other North Korean spies who came to South Korea posing as defectors.

Earlier this month, another Pyongyang spy, who confessed to an attempted terrorist attack against Kim Jong-nam, a half-brother of the North's current leader Kim Jong-un, received a prison term. (Yonhap)

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