60-year old Kang Kyong Suk, one of three “re-defectors” involved in a press conference held in Pyongyang on May 17th stated, “Returning defectors live well so I came back.” However, an inside source has since told Daily NK that Kang was probably working in South Korea as a spy for the National Security Agency (NSA).
The source from Onsung County in North Hamkyung Province, where Kang lived prior to travelling to the South, explained, “Kang, who had been a missing person, reappeared in Namyang on or around April 23rd. From before that, people who looked like NSA agents had been coming and going to her home.”
“Her family did not get punished at all even though she had defected,” the source noted. “On the contrary, her son-in-law and son were both promoted. That’s why a lot of people in Namyang assume she was an NSA spy. People think she got orders to go to South Korea for espionage and just came back.”
According to the source, Kang’s son-in-law had been working at a military base in Jagang Province, but following her re-defection he moved to a better position in Chongjin, whilst her eldest son had been working at an office dealing with fuel distribution in Onsung County, but is now working for a Chinese joint venture construction company.
The source said that Kang also has a long history of aiding in the activities of the security forces in the area, by both reporting on the “anti-socialist” acts of others and seeking out new informants for the NSA.
However, there are other interpretations of the situation, the source acknowledged, saying, “Some people think there was no punishment because she had a love child with a Namyang NSA officer who had received the Labor Hero award.” But, the source went on, “Life had been easy for her thanks to her work, so most people struggle to believe that she really defected.”
Reporting on the press conference, the North Korean media asserted that South Korean agents had lured the three re-defectors to enter the South under false pretences. This was the same claim made in previous cases of re-defection. The participants claimed that South Korean interrogators told them of their aim, which is to force North Korea’s collapse and impose liberal democracy on it.
In November last year, Daily NK revealed inside source testimony alleging that another “re-defector” had been working for the NSA in South Korea (see linked article). Sources also assert that an increasing number of espionage agents have been entering South Korea disguised as defectors since Kim Jong Eun came to power in late 2011, and that the NSA is simultaneously working to bring people back to North Korea in order to feed into propaganda on the superiority of the North Korean system.