Agents from North Korea reportedly tried to
use South Korean drug criminals roughly five years ago in a plot to assassinate
a former Workers’ Party Secretary who defected to the South.
On May 17th, Seoul’s Central District Prosecutors’ Office
announced the arrest and indictment of three South Korean individuals,
identified by their surnames Kim, Hwang, and Bang, for allegedly manufacturing
and trading narcotics in the North– a breach of the South’s
National Security Law among others.
The prosecutors’ office added these
individuals had collaborated with a group of North Korean spies to orchestrate
the killing of late Hwang Jang Yop, the highest-ranking defector to this date,
and other anti-Pyongyang figures. The group is said to have received funds from
Pyongyang’s agents, amounting to roughly 40,000 USD in 2009 for about a year,
as expenditure to carry out the assassination.
The plot never came to fruition as Hwang died of natural causes in October of 2010. Prosecutors are planning on expanding their scope
of investigation to determine whether there were other members involved.
The three are also suspected of handing
over military information from 2009 to 2013 to the North’s agents. 62-year-old
Kim allegedly provided information on where gas storage tanks and combined heat
and power plants are located and gave a North Korean agent a 2013 arms almanac
from the South. Another member, Hwang, was revealed to have traveled in and out
of North Korea via China in 2004 in order to kill a German human rights
North Korea smuggled Kim and other members
into the country roughly around the years of 1998 to 2000 so they could use
their skills of manufacturing methamphetamine. The group produced roughly 70kg
of meth in the North after buying in South Korea and China a cooling system and
other goods required to produce the drug and smuggling them into the North.