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Drug Dealer Indicted for Trying to Kidnap NK Defectors

Posted May. 26, 2010 13:41,   


A 55-year-old South Korean national was indicted Tuesday for allegedly trading narcotics and attempting to kidnap North Korean defectors under the North’s direction.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors` Office said the suspect fled to China in 1999 to avoid arrest for drug smuggling. In China, he met a female North Korean spy who approached him under the guise of trading drugs in February 2000. The two began living together and went to Pyongyang the same year.

In the North Korean capital, the man received espionage training and began working as an agent under the North’s State Security Department. His first mission was to collect personal information on South Korean intelligence officials working in China.

In April 2000, he botched an attempt to persuade a person who worked for North Korean defectors in China to go to the North. He also tried to kidnap a defector in her 20s who used to work at a North Korean missile base, but Chinese police discovered his plot.

Under the direction of the State Security Department, the suspect also attempted to smuggle 50 kilograms of narcotics into China and South Korea. He offered two kilograms to a Chinese drug dealer by receiving drugs from a North Korean office to earn hard cash.

A series of failures led to his dismissal as a spy in April 2003, however. Afterwards, he continued to deal drugs and was put on the wanted list by Chinese police. While attempting illegal entry into South Korea, he was arrested at Incheon International Airport April 8.

The North Korean spy with whom he lived together is in a Chinese prison. She was arrested for attempting to smuggle 1.5 kilograms of narcotics into China in November 2007 and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

A prosecutor said, “This incident has verified rumors that North Korea is dealing narcotics to earn hard cash,” adding, “North Korea’s State Security Department, which focused on detecting dissidents, began espionage operations against South Korea such as winning South Koreans over to its side and collecting intelligence on South Korea in 2000.”