Spy agency exposes 1979 murder of head of KCIA

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Spy agency exposes 1979 murder of head of KCIA

The National Intelligence Service released a highly detailed report yesterday on the 1979 disappearance of Kim Hyung-wook, the spy agency’s chief between 1963 and 1969, that said Mr. Kim was killed in Paris by Korean intelligence agents.
Two and a half years ago at the outset of the Roh administration, the intelligence service set up a special panel to look into the agency’s past in an effort to uncover rights abuses. That inquiry included Mr. Kim’s mysterious disappearance.
As KCIA head, the predecessor of the intelligence service, Mr. Kim had been the second-most-powerful man in the early days of the Park Chung Hee regime, which held power from 1961 to 1979.
But Mr. Kim fell out of favor and fled overseas in 1973 and became a vocal critic of Mr. Park’s rule. The former intelligence head became a focus of the Park administration after he testified about the oppression under Mr. Park before a U.S. Congressional panel in 1977. The last known sighting of Mr. Kim was in Paris on Oct. 7, 1979, as he left a casino. It has been a long-held suspicion that Mr. Park ordered Mr. Kim’s death. The report appears to confirm public suspicion.
According to the intelligence service’s report, Kim Jae-kyu, who was the agency’s head between 1976 and 1979, ordered agency officials in France to kill the renegade former spy chief.
The report alleges in detail how Kim Jae-kyu in September 1979 asked Lee Sang-yull, then the top KCIA agent in Paris, to orchestrate the killing. The report says Mr. Lee enlisted two agency officials in Paris along with two Eastern Europeans to carry out the murder.
On Oct. 7, 1979, Kim Hyung-wook called Mr. Lee to borrow money, the report says. Mr. Lee lured the ex-spy chief to the Champs Elysees saying that he would introduce him to some lenders.
The agency officials and the Eastern Europeans kidnapped Mr. Kim using Mr. Lee’s official car. The two East European men had a gun from the Korean spy agency agents. The report says they killed Mr. Kim with seven shots in a small forest outside Paris. They then covered the body with leaves and left the scene. The Korean officials refused to say where they left the dead body of Mr. Kim, the service said.
The intelligence service said the description of the event was based on the statements of the Korean agency officials and the service’s internal documents from the time. It said Mr. Lee, a key figure in the case, refused to make any statements. Efforts by reporters to contact Mr. Lee were unsuccessful.
Kim Jae-kyu was executed in 1980 for assassinating Park Chung Hee. An intelligence official said yesterday, “Whether President Park asked Kim Jae-kyu to kill Kim Hyung-wook has not been determined. We need additional information.”
The opposition Grand National Party, whose leader Park Geun-hye is a daughter of Mr. Park, said yesterday the report was questionable.
“The Roh Moo-hyun administration is at a crisis situation because of the failed Russian oil deal scandal and the questionable Haengdam island development project,” a Grand National member said yesterday. “We suspect that it released such a result on Mr. Kim’s case to divert the public’s attention.”


by Seo Seung-wook, Lee Young-jong
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