High-level spy-ring arrests send shockwaves in S. Korea

Lim Chae-jung

Lim Chae-jung

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
South Korean prosecutors have indicted or are questioning dozens of alleged members of a North Korean spy ring, in what is said to be the country’s largest espionage case in over a decade. Seoul’s political establishment has been rocked by the espionage scandal, which allegedly involves several trade unionists, academics, and at least ten members of the country’s opposition Democratic Party. According to security officials, the suspects were members of an underground organization called Wangjaesan, after Mount Wangjae which is a revered national monument in North Korea. The official indictment claims that Wangjaesan was handled by operatives of Office 225 of the North Korean Workers’ Party Korea, which is tasked with overseeing the activities of sleeper agents operating in South Korea. The organization was allegedly headed by a man identified only as ‘Kim’, who owned a South Korean electronics import-export company, and routinely traveled to China and Japan, where he purportedly met his North Korean handlers. Aside from ‘Kim’, South Korean counterintelligence investigators are reportedly questioning close to ten senior members of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, several academics, as well as at least a dozen opposition political figures. Among the latter are members of South Korea’s leftwing Democratic Labor Party, widely considered as the political wing for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Read more of this post

South charges North Korean agents with assassination plot

Hwang Jang-yop

Hwang Jang-yop

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Two North Koreans who defected to South Korea last November have allegedly admitted to being intelligence officers on a mission to assassinate a North Korean former senior official. The official, Hwang Jang-yop, caused a sensation on both sides of the border when he defected to the South in 1997. A former secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party, Hwang was the North’s primary theorist and the ideological architect of juche, the philosophy of self-reliance, which is North Korea’s officially sanctioned state dogma. Since his defection, the 87-year-old Hwang, who is believed to have ideologically mentored North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, has been living in the South with around-the-clock security protection. The two self-confessed spies, Tong Myong Kwan and Kim Myung Ho, both 36, have allegedly admitted posing as defectors, while in reality being on an assassination mission on behalf of the intelligence unit of the North Korean Ministry of Defense. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0076

  • Revealing CIA report published today. The CIA is expected to come under some of its toughest scrutiny for years, after the publication today of a report detailing the agency’s use of mock executions, and the threatening of detainees with power drills and guns during interrogations.
  • North Korean spy director meets South Korean officials. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met a delegation of visiting North Korean officials on Sunday, including Kim Yang Gon who heads the United Front Department (UFD), an intelligence agency under the Korean Worker’s Party (KWP) of the DPRK.
  • Changes imminent at South African spy agency. The administration of President Jacob Zuma intends to move to restructure South Africa’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the country’s primary domestic spy organization. In July, a former member of South Africa’s ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence warned that a steadily declining culture of accountability in the country’s spy services is threatening the country’s constitutional order.

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