Go to contents

N. Korea Spy Probe Reviewing 50 Possible Suspects

Posted August. 30, 2008 03:26,   


The arrest of a North Korean spy disguised as a defector has created a huge ripple effects, as military sources said yesterday that some 50 North Korean spies have infiltrated the South Korean military.

The Defense Security Service said it is investigating some 100 spy cases involving leaks of classified military information and praise for the North Korean government.

Several military sources said about 50 spy suspects are found to have acted as North Korean agents. They reportedly engaged in seduction of active military officers, collection of classified military information, and other espionage activities in South Korea.

The suspects are known to have entered South Korea disguised as defectors under the direction of a North Korean agent like Won Jeong-hwa, who was arrested by a joint military-police investigation team, or helped North Korean agents by gathering and passing on classified information.

Military authorities say certain personnel such as commissioned or non-commissioned officers have been implicated in espionage.

A high-ranking military official said, “The decade-long ‘sunshine policy’ of engaging North Korea under previous liberal governments has helped loosen anti-communism among South Korean troops, resulting in increased spying of the South Korean military."

"Military authorities have closely cooperated with other agencies to identify the suspects and look for other spy suspects.”

In an emergency meeting of top brass Thursday, Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee expressed regret over the implication of servicemen in espionage when briefed by the Defense Security Command. He ordered stronger prevention of soldiers from being seduced by North Korean spies.

“Any officer in the service could become a target for spying activities by North Korea,” he said, hinting at infiltration by North Korean spies into the country reaching dangerous levels.

In addition, military sources said probes are looking into some 100 cases on alleged espionage activities involving North Korea.

The cases under investigation are taking photos of key military facilities including U.S. Army bases, collecting data on military headquarters and high-profile North Korean defectors, and praise for the North Korean government.

“Military leaders reached a consensus that we should take the North Korean female spy case as an opportunity to fix lax anti-communism among the troops, and that comprehensive investigations should be made to sort out and track spy suspects who hand over classified military information to the communist state,” a military source said.

ysh1005@donga.com kyle@donga.com