Go to contents

Criminal Law, Not Security Law, Applied in North Korean Spy Cases

Criminal Law, Not Security Law, Applied in North Korean Spy Cases

Posted July. 06, 2005 00:37,   


It was revealed on July 5 that the National Intelligence Service (NIS) applied the criminal law instead of the national security law early this year for the first time when dealing with secret activities of North Korean spies near Miryang City in South Gyeongsang Province.

Rep. Choi Jae-cheon of the Uri Party mentioned the NIS data with such contents at the confirmation hearing of NIS Director Nominee Kim Seung-kyu on July 5, saying, “It seems extremely significant that Article 98 Clause 1 of the criminal law was applied instead of the national security law to a spy case.”

Article 98 Clause 1 states that “persons who commit acts of espionage for enemy states or who aid such acts can be sentenced to death, or to life, or over seven years in prison.”

The Uri Party sought to revise the criminal code while abolishing the national security law at the end of last year, but the bill did not pass the National Assembly due to opposition from the Grand National Party.

Meanwhile, through the data provided this day, the NIS revealed that seven North Korean spies were caught in the last three years, and two of them engaged in espionage activities over the Internet.

According to the data, the NIS caught three spies in both 2003 and 2004 and one this year.

Among them, the “Internet spies” were Park (aged 27) who tried to contact the North Korea-led organization National Democratic Front of South Korea via e-mail in 2001 and Kang (aged 74) who tried to send a report to the North over the Internet.

An NIS official stated, “It is difficult to crack down on spy activities over the Internet as they are very covert and include various secret codes. Though we have been keeping a close eye on Internet spy activities, we have only unearthed two cases.”

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com