Two men accused of planning to assassinate high profile North Korean defector Hwang Jang Yop have each been sentenced to ten years in jail for their role in the case, which South Korea says was orchestrated by North Korea’s General Bureau of Reconnaissance.
The two, known as Kim and Dong, 36 and 34 respectively, were handed the sentences in Seoul Central District Court today.
Presenting its judgment, the court asserted that Hwang Jang Yop’s resettlement in South Korea represents a “symbol of the superiority of the South Korean system” and that had the two men succeeded in settling down in the country, it would have represented a major threat to his safety.
However, the two were arrested in April, just four months after their arrival in December.
At the original trial on the 23rd, the prosecution stated, “The case of an attempt to assassinate Hwang Jang Yop is itself an obvious invasion of the South Korean system. Therefore, it is a crime worthy of capital punishment or life imprisonment.”
However, the North Korean plot failed, the court said, and the two men cooperated with the investigation, rendering the lower sentences more appropriate.
Nevertheless, the prosecutor said at the time, “If Hwang Jang Yop, who escaped from the socialist system of North Korea into the free and democratic South Korea, had been injured or killed, it would have gone down as a humiliating case for South Korea.”