Two Koreans indicted after spying for Pyongyang

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Two Koreans indicted after spying for Pyongyang

Prosecutors on Monday indicted two South Koreans for making reports on domestic affairs to be sent to North Korea and for writing documents extolling the Communist regime.

One of the two indicted suspects is a 52-year-old man surnamed Kim who was arrested at an internet cafe in Seoul on May 24. Another suspect is Kim’s accomplice, a man surnamed Lee, 54, who was apprehended in Ansan, Gyeonggi, on the same day.

The National Intelligence Service reported earlier this month that Kim was arrested as he was trying to send his espionage reports in an email to his contact in North Korea. The NIS took the unusual step of showing recorded footage of the apprehension to members of the parliamentary intelligence committee on July 1 to prove they had taken legal due process for the arrest, such as showing an arrest warrant issued by a court.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office reported Tuesday that the two men were suspected of having contacted North Korean agents dispatched by the clandestine 225th Bureau under the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang in March 2014 and last August.

The 225th Bureau is responsible for training spies and helping them infiltrate the South. The authorities did not specify what orders the duo received from North Korea during their alleged meeting.

South Korean media reported at first that the man arrested in the Internet cafe was a pastor who had disguised himself as a campaigner for North Korean defectors. A prosecutor involved in the case refuted this.

Prosecutors obtained documents written by the two, praising the Kim family. The two allegedly made an avowal of their loyalty to the Kim family in their writings. One writing reads that the “South Korean public and patriots proudly watch Korea growing stronger under the dear leadership of Marshal Kim Jong-un despite unrelenting persecution by the enemy,” in a reference to the South Korean government.

One of the confiscated reports mentions the knife attack against U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert on March 5 last year. In it, the suspect wrote that “the public’s growing anger led to wielding a sword of justice against the U.S. official in charge of the South.”

It was not specified which one of the two men wrote the letter.

In total, prosecutors said the suspects had 57 documents in support of the Pyongyang regime.

But prosecutors failed to find out whether the duo had been paid by the North or had succeeded in sending their reports to the regime.

BY KANG JIN-KYU, SONG SEUNG-HWAN [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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