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`NK Spy Sought Confidential Data on Seoul Subway`

Posted May. 24, 2010 13:16,   


Intelligence authorities said Sunday that they captured a North Korean spy who allegedly got Seoul subway information from a former high-ranking subway official whom she met via online chatting.

The National Intelligence Service and prosecutors said they expanded their investigation based on the probability that the information could be used for a terrorist attack ahead of the November Group of 20 summit in Seoul.

The spy, 36, entered South Korea disguised as a North Korean defector. She and a former high-ranking official of the Seoul subway corporation, 52, were indicted on charges of relaying internal information to the North on the city`s subway system, such as the emergency response manual for lines one to four, a violation of the National Security Law.

Prosecutors said the spy met the man through online chatting while working as a hotel clerk in Hunan Province, China, in February 2006. She invited him to stay in China in May and began a romantic relationship that resulted in him moving in with her.

She suggested that he set up a travel agency in China after retirement and that they run the business together. She then confessed to him that she was a North Korea spy and asked him to obtain classified information on the Seoul subway, saying, “We need North Korea’s cooperation to run the business.”

The man then gave her a 300-page classified document on the Seoul subway on a USB memory stick, including emergency contacts, staffing schedule and emergency measures, stored in the computer of the subway corporation’s central control center between June and October 2007.

The woman also obtained the names of public servants including police officers on a list of South Korean travelers to China from two travel agency employees, and the status of major universities in South Korea from a 29-year-old college student whom she met in a sexually explicit online video chatting site.

The spy secretly entered South Korea via Laos in September last year after being ordered by the North’s national security agency to “contact a residential spy in South Korea by disguising herself as a defector.” While questioning defectors in groups, South Korean intelligence suspected her intentions and kept her under watch. They arrested her Thursday when she tried to flee the country.

The woman is known to have worked as a pharmacist at a drug factory in the North but joined the national security agency in 1997 to evade punishment for losing her Workers’ Party identification. She reportedly traveled back and forth between China and North Korea on a number of occasions over the last 13 years.

Given her history, South Korean authorities are questioning her to see if she committed other crimes. A prosecutor said, “Since confidential information on the Seoul subway system can be abused by those planning a terrorist plot, we are expanding the scope of our investigation.”