S. Korea police says professor was secret handler of N. Korea spies

Chongryon A Korean resident of Japan, who was arrested in South Korea for credit card fraud, was allegedly a handler of North Korean sleeper agents operating in South Korea, Japan and China, according to police in Seoul. Pak Chae Hun, 49, was arrested on Tuesday at his home in Seoul by officers of the Public Security Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Department. A statement issued by South Korean police said Pak was until recently an associate professor at Korea University, a higher-education institution based in the Japanese capital Tokyo. The University is funded directly by the government of North Korea through Chongryon, a pro-Pyongyang organization otherwise known as the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. The group represents tens of thousands of ethnic Koreans living in Japan, who are ideologically affiliated with Pyongyang.

Pak was initially investigated for purchasing computer hardware in Japan using a credit card he had obtained from a Korean company using a false identity and date of birth. But when South Korean police authorities raided his home, they found encrypted messages written on scraps of paper. Further investigations detected encrypted email messages sent to Pak from Japan. According to government sources in Seoul, the messages turned out to contain instructions from Office 225 of the North Korean Workers’ Party Korea, which is tasked with overseeing the activities of sleeper agents operating in South Korea. South Korean authorities now claim Pak was regularly receiving encrypted instructions from Pyongyang, which he relayed to North Korean agents in China and South Korea.

South Korean sources said Pak also provided North Korean agents with telephone devices, as well as cash and ATM cards, which they used to withdraw cash from banks in South Asia. Police sources in Seoul say Pak was recruited by North Korean spies over 15 years ago and regularly traveled to China to meet North Korean agents there. The former professor is now facing fraud charges, while South Korean authorities are considering the possibility of charging him with espionage, even though he was not caught in the act of spying against South Korea.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 03 February 2016 | Permalink

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