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Memo Links NIS Chief to Spy Scandal

Posted November. 02, 2006 03:01,   


It turns out on November 1 that Mr. P, an aide of former representative A and one of the alleged recruitment targets of Chang Min-ho (American name Michael Chang, 44, arrested) is an acquaintance of chief of National Intelligence Service (NIS) Kim Seung-gyu. Chang is the spymaster of the alleged spy group Ilsimhoe, which has been implicated in an espionage scandal involving many former student activists.

P was close to Kim enough to dine with him occasionally when he was an aide to former lawmaker K, a brother of Kim. Suspicions are mounting that Chang may have approached P because he had been aware of their relationship.

The NIS found a memo in a search of Chang’s office and home. There were six names on it, including P, deputy secretary general of Democratic Labor party Choi Ki-young (40, arrested), and K, an executive of an environmentalist group. The NIS suspects Chang may have attempted to entice them to join the spy ring and specified the existence of the memo in search and arrest warrants for Choi and others.

Chang and P entered the same university in 1981 and joined the same literature club. Chang left for the U.S. the next year, but after he returned to Korea in 1993, they have been associated up until recently.

When P started a business last September, Chang gave advice on accounting and management. Four days before his arrest by the NIS, he made a friendly phone call to P on October 22.

During a phone interview with Dong-A Ilbo, P answered the question if there were any attempts by Chang to lure him, saying, “There was nothing suspicious.” He admitted that he called or met with Chang occasionally, but most of their talks were about family or other common issues. “After I started my company, I got some business advice from him, but that’s all,” he added.