Attacker’s links to enemy probed

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Attacker’s links to enemy probed

The radical anti-American activist who attacked U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert last week has made statements that could be considered threatening to national security, according to authorities seeking to charge 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong with violating the country’s National Security Law.

According to the Jongno Police Precinct, Kim answered during questioning that South Korea was a “half-colonized country” and that “North Korea [is ruled by] an autonomous administration.”

“When asked of his opinion of Kim Il Sung, Kim Ki-jong said he was the national leader of the 20th century because he led an anti-Japanese crusade under Japanese colonial rule and had efficiently governed the nation he established after the two Koreas separated,” said precinct chief Yoon Myeong-seong. “He also said that none of the South’s former or current presidents were comparable to Kim Il Sung.”

Police added that they have confiscated 219 items from Kim, including digital publications and books, and had requested an external institution investigate 30 of them, including a book written by late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and a publication from an inter-Korean organization that the Supreme Court in 1997 judged as an organization that benefitted the enemy.

The institution, the name of which the police did not disclose, concluded that more than 10 of them are against national interests.

“This external institution is the one that we request to appraise publications suspected to benefit the enemy,” Yoon said. “The inspection is conducted strictly, and those who participated in the inspection are going to testify as witnesses in court.”

Given that merely possessing such materials wouldn’t be enough to warrant charges of violating the National Security Law, the police are currently working to prove that Kim acquired those publications for activities that defy national interests. Kim is believed to have bought them from second-hand bookstores or at rallies.

The police are also cooperating with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into Kim’s online activities via U.S.-based social networking services like Twitter.

Kim’s pre-trial detention warrant expires on Sunday, and the case is expected to be passed on to the prosecution before Friday, police said.

On Monday, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) fired back at the ruling Saenuri Party for its remarks alleging that the opposition was linked to pro-North Korean activities.

“The ruling Saenuri Party, the government and the Blue House said they will try to figure out the mastermind behind [the attack on Ambassador Lippert], but they suddenly pin blame the main opposition as being a ‘host’ for pro-North Korean activities,” NPAD Rep. Joo Seung-yong said a supreme council meeting. “The NPAD doesn’t accept extremists like Kim Ki-jong and is also opposed to the extremism of President Park Geun-hye and the ruling Saenuri Party.”

BY KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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