Fake evidence case charges altered

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Fake evidence case charges altered

Prosecutors yesterday submitted a request for a change in its indictment against Yu Wu-seong, an ethnic Korean-Chinese who came to the South in 2004 in the guise of being a North Korean defector.

The request for a change in the indictment came after prosecutors and the nation’s main spy agency landed in hot water for having faked evidence to convict Yu on charges of spying for Pyongyang.

With the prospects dwindling of convicting Yu on charges that he collected approximately 200 profiles of defectors living in Seoul and leaked them to Pyongyang, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office charged the Chinese national with fraud, alleging that he pocketed 85 million won ($80,490) over a 10-year period from April 2004 through August 2013 in government subsidies that he was not entitled to.

Upon arriving in South Korea in 2004, Yu lied about his identity, not revealing that he was a Chinese national born in North Korea, and gained South Korean citizenship as a North Korean defector.

The prosecutors also charge that Yu illegally used a government-provided apartment for North Korean defectors.

To make their point that Yu committed fraud in posing as a North Korean defector, the prosecutors changed his name in the indictment to Liu Jiagang and clarified his nationality as Chinese.

The prosecutors also added to the indictment that Yu has traveled to China 13 times since March 2005 under four different names for unknown reasons. The prosecutors are also investigating Yu’s alleged violation of regulations on foreign exchange.

Yu is suspected of having raked in 400 million won in commissions for delivering 1.3 billion won collected from 700 defectors in the South to their families in the North.

The case surrounding the fabricated evidence has cast a shadow over the credibility of the National Intelligence Service, which prompted the nation’s top spy agency to issue a rare public apology on March 9 expressing its regrets over the “unexpected” controversy.

BY JUNG HYO-SIK, KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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