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5th Suspect Investigated in Spy Case

Posted December. 07, 2006 07:04,   


A national security official said, “We found another man involved with the case in addition to those four already arrested and we are now investigating him”

The suspect is said to be connected to Jang Min-ho.

The National Intelligence Service and prosecutors are focusing on the fact that Ilsimhoe is double-lined with a main group and a shadow group. If the five, including Jang, belong to the main group, there can be a shadow group for emergencies.

The NIS has been investigating clues and evidence such as USB drives seized from Jang, but did not make much progress since the members do not know each other unless they are directly connected. Most of those related to Ilsimhoe are remaining silent.

Prosecutors have decided to charge all five people arrested with suspicion of espionage by applying the related provision (Article 4, Clause 1-2) of the National Security Law.

Jang, the main suspect who entered North Korea three times and joined the Korean Social Democratic Labor Party (KSDLP), allegedly organized Ilsimhoe according to North Korea’s orders, drew Sohn Jeong-mok, Lee Jeong-hoon, and Lee Jin-gang (40, arrested) into his confidence and arranged their meetings with North Korean agents in Beijing.

According to prosecutors, Democratic Labor Party Vice Director-General Choi Ki-yeong (41, arrested) was a lower-level member.

Prosecutors decided not to use the legal term, “spy ring,” although the suspects have a certain organizational system. A source in the prosecutors’ office said, “This is not a spy ring case, but a case of spies.”

Prosecutors also made a final decision to apply Article 3 of the National Security Law only to Jang who joined the KSDLP.

The other four will be charged according to Article 7 concerning creating and joining an organization benefiting the enemy. Ilsimhoe was designated as an “organization supporting the activities of a person who receives North Korea’s orders” since it is not clear that the suspects joined the KSDLP or aimed to subvert the regime.

The degree of punishment can vary dramatically according to whether Ilsimhoe is designated as an organization that is “anti-national” or “benefiting the enemy.” In the former case, those involved can be put to more than two years’ penal servitude at minimum, and the key person of the case can receive death penalty.

In the latter case, however, the term will be more than one year. Representative organizations designated as enemy-benefiting include the South Korean headquarters of Pomminryun (Pan-National Alliance for the Reunification of the Fatherland) and Hanchongryun (Korean Federation of University Student Councils).

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