Two North Korean agents who entered South Korea disguised as refugees, with plans to assassinate an octogenarian former secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party Central Committee, were arrested. The spies had orders to kill senior North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop (87), prosecutors said Tuesday.
Arrested on Tuesday were Maj. Kim Myong-ho (36) and Maj. Tong Myong-kwan (36) on a warrant from the Seoul Central District Court.
According to prosecutors, Kim and Tong arrived in Yanji, China, crossed the North Korea-China border in November last year, met up with other North Korean agents and received mobile phones and operational funds at a liaison office of the Reconnaissance Bureau there. Afterward, they pretended to defect and traveled all the way to Thailand, were arrested by Thai police and handed over to the South Korean embassy. Deported from Thailand, they arrived in South Korea in January and February and were questioned by the NIS.
But their stories did not check out since both gave false names and places of birth. Under interrogation, they confessed to being spies. Prosecutors said the two admitted to having orders from Kim Yong-chol, the bureau director, to file a report about Hwang Jang-yop's activities including the location of his home, and to cut off his head. They were ordered to escape to the North Korean embassy in a third country and await further instructions if they failed to accomplish their mission.