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“Secret Reentrance of North Korean Defectors into the North” Creating a Stir

“Secret Reentrance of North Korean Defectors into the North” Creating a Stir

Posted December. 02, 2004 23:01,   


A huge loophole in the government’s North Korean defection management was disclosed as one of them was found to have re-entered Korea secretly after returning to the North and receiving espionage training.

The National Intelligence Service said yesterday that North Korean defector Lee (28) was sent to the prosecution on the charge of infiltration and escape, meeting, corresponding, and other charges without physical restraint and is currently under investigation at the Daejeon District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Having entered Korea in January 2003, Lee reentered North Korea to meet his family this April and was caught by North Korean authorities, having passed information on “Hanawon,” the settlement facility for North Korean defectors, and “Daesung Gongsa,” a joint interrogation agency on the defectors, received espionage training, reentered Korea, and delivered himself right away.

Although the entire picture was exposed in this case because the suspect delivered himself, problems are pointed out that a similar case can recur, and it will be difficult to inflict substantial punishments on such cases if the Abolition Bill on the National Security Law is passed.

Concerning this, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young made clear at a gathering of journalists held at the Central Government Complex located in Sejong-ro, Seoul yesterday, “There are various cases in which North Korean defectors secretly reentered North Korea. Last year, 70 percent of the 600 North Koreans who traveled abroad visited China, and some 40 people are currently overstaying their schedules.”

With the number of North Korean defectors entering North Korea via China increasing recently, cases of “acts benefiting the enemy” are also surging.

North Korean defector Yoo (36) reentered the North in June 2000 to bring his family and defected again after making criticism broadcasts targeting South Korea. Nam (47), who defected in 1996, went back to the North in August 2000, conferred intelligence service related information to the North’s National Security Defense Department, and then returned to Korea.

Former security prosecutor and incumbent GNP Representative Jang Yoon-suk pointed out, “In Lee’s case, if the National Security Law is abolished without any supplementation, it will be impossible to punish him on the charge of infiltration and escape or meeting and correspondence because the law itself cannot be applied.”

Meanwhile, GNP Representatives Kwon Young-sae and Kong Sung-jin raised suspicions yesterday that the National Intelligence Service purposely covered, saying, “(We) questioned ‘if there is a case in which spies entered Korea disguised as North Korean defectors’ during the general meeting of the Intelligence Committee in July and parliamentary inspection in September, but the NIS reiterated continuously that ‘there was no such occasion.’“

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