• Ha Young Ok
On May 28th,
1990, a ceremony was held on Mt. Dobong, a secondary mountain on
the fringes of Bukhansan National Park in northern Seoul. There, Ha Young Ok
and Kim Young Hwan were inducted into the Chosun Workers’ Party. Ha would come to be known by the codename Gwanaksan-2; his Party membership number was 102. As others had before him, he
declared joining the Party to be a “signal
honor” and pledged to “do everything in my power to carry through its
Ha was a stubborn,
determined activist; a year before, in March 1989, he had set up the
Anti-imperialist Youth Alliance. That is perhaps why he was the only National Democratic Revolutionary Party (NDRP) Central
Committee member to stand resolute when a disillusioned Kim Young Hwan tabled a
motion calling for its dissolution in July 1997. Rather than follow the trend,
Ha reacted by reaching out to Sim Jae Chun, persuading him to continue the
party’s core activities on Ha’s own instructions.
In late October 1998,
long after Kim Young Hwan had unmasked the underground organization, Kim Kyeong Hwan, a
journalist with the monthly magazine Mal contacted Ha to convey secret news that a North Korean agent had come
to Seoul and wished to meet him. Ha accepted, meeting the North Korean at a faculty meeting room at Seoul
National University. There, he was informed that he had been appointed chair of
the NDRP in absentia, and should visit the North. He was given a code sheet, a
booklet on Internet communications techniques, training in North Korea’s specific communication methods, and 3,000,000 won in operational
funds, a considerable sum at the time.
Throughout that month
and into the next, Ha helped the North Korean spy, Won Jin Wu, evade the police. The pair used Sim Jae Chun’s home as a safe house and, on November
11th, went to Hwagok 6-dong government office, where Ha helped his North Korean
colleague acquire official documents, including a national ID number and
associated documentation (that had been stolen from another person of the same
On November 19th, Ha
and Won went to the coastal village of Naeri on Ganghwa Island to leave for
North Korea, but a semi-submersible that had been sent to take them was
detected by the South Korean military. Fleeing back to Seoul separately, they
soon agreed a revised timetable for the journey, and Ha’s codename was
immediately changed to Gwangmyungsung.
On November 27th,
Won gave Ha 500,000 won cash in operational funds after exchanging a quantity
of Japanese Yen at a black market currency exchange behind the Sinsaegae
Department Store in Myeongdong. Ha and Sim planned to guide Won to an
exfiltration point at Yeosu, where they were to reconnoitre the local area. On
December 16th, the day before the three left on the trip, Ha wrote up three
reports – a letter of introduction, a report, and a communications guide – and encrypted them using the code sheet he’d been given by Won. The next day all three
left in Sim’s car, placing the reports for North Korea – 2 diskettes and 3
coded letters – in a bag. They made contact with two North Korean agents at a
prearranged recovery point at around 11 pm.
The next day, the
semi-submersible that Won had boarded near Yeosu was sunk (see pt.1).
This prompted a
worried Ha and Sim to discuss how to cover up their involvement in the case.
They decided, in the interests of organizational security, to cut contact with
one another for a spell.
Little more than a month later, in early August, Ha is known to
have visited a small, nameless Internet cafe in the Sillim area of Seoul, where
he picked up a message from North Korea. The decoded contents
read: “Maintain your security. PGP method [of achieving Internet privacy] is being researched. Prepare as best you can.” Ha remained
in contact with North Korea, and went on with his anti-government
• Sim Jae Chun
Sim began life as a
Seoul National University (SNU) phys-ed student in March 1988. There, he became
an adherent of Juche and active participant in anti-government protests both on
and off campus. Naturally, he soon joined the newly created Anti-Imperialist
Youth Alliance, under the sponsorship of a fellow SNU student called So **.
During their November
1998 visit to Yeosu, Sim and Won collected intelligence on military and police
checkpoints, the state of coastal military bases and the geography of the area.
They also recovered a radio, poisons and other operational equipment from a
dead drop. On December 12th, 1998, Sim obtained identity papers for Won from
Sillim 9-dong government office. Two days later, on the 14th, he obtained
a copy of the real Won’s family register from another such office in Bongcheon 7-dong.
During early 1999, Sim
joined the Workers’ Party and was given the codename Kwangmyungsung-91. He became Ha’s communications
officer and, at a small inn near Jeonju in the southern province of North Jeolla, received training in wireless
communications, numeric code decryption, methods for receiving “A-3”communications,
and escape and evasion techniques in the event of emergency. Even after Won’s semi-submersible
was sunk, Sim remained in contact with operational headquarters in North Korea by
radio and Internet.
• Kim Kyeong Hwan
Kim Kyeong Hwan
originally became active as a member of the Anti-Imperialist Youth Alliance while
a student at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies. In mid-September 1989,
another student named Ko introduced him to Won Jin Wu and his wife **. At that
time, Ko was a part-timer at a small traditional Malaysian restaurant in the
Nonhyon area of Gangnam, the rapidly developing heart of Seoul’s business
district. Both Won, then known as Jin Un Bang (see pt.1), and his wife were undercover North Korean agents posing
Won told Kim that he
had been “sent from North Korea to work on reunification. We’ve known about you
since you first joined the Anti-Imperialist Youth Alliance,” and proposed that he and Kim “work together for
1991, Kim met Kim Young Hwan in a small bakery in Noryangjin. Kim asked him to,“act as my
intermediary contact with Jin Un Bang.” Kim accepted Kim Young Hwan’s offer. At the
direction of Kim Young Hwan, Kim joined the Workers’ Party in August 1991 and
was given the codename Kwanmobong. Although there is evidence that Kim followed Kim Young Hwan in
changing ideologically in the late 90s, he was given a prison sentence for later helping Ha Young Ok contact Won Jin Wu.