North Korea claims it has arrested two South Korean spies in Dandong, a border city between China and the DPRK on March 26.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) identified the two men as Kim Kook-kie and Choi Chun-kil and claimed they were arrested for “committing espionage”.
“They zealously took part in the anti-DPRK smear campaign of the U.S. imperialists and the puppet group of traitors to isolate and blockade the DPRK in (the) international arena by labeling it ‘a country printing counterfeit notes’ and ‘sponsor of terrorism’ while pulling it up over its ‘human rights issue’ the article reads.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) denied the report.
“The NIS is not related to this and (the North’s) claims are groundless,” a spokesperson from the NIS told NK News.
The DPRK announced the news at a press briefing at the People’s Palace of Culture, releasing images of the two men, large amounts of currency and numerous cell phones.
According to the article, Kim Kuk Gi was part of the underground church network “conducting religious propaganda against the DPRK”, printed counterfeit notes, and disseminated anti-North Korea materials. He also identified over 30 supposed South Korean intelligence bases in Dandong.
In a video on his statement released by KCNA, Kim also admits to obtaining DNA samples of members of the North Korean elite.
“I researched the North Korean supreme leader’s health condition, his inspection routes, and even collected hair, nail, coffee glasses and other DNA materials of high level officials. According to the direction of NIS, I took pictures of Kim Jong Il’s route to China in November 2009, and reported his health condition” Kim said.
KCNA claims the second ROK citizen helped move a sample of earth from near the DPRK’s nuclear facility at Yongbyon, so that South Korean intelligence services could test it for radium. Photographing military installations, conducting smear campaigns, buying North Korean military uniforms for invasion preparations and spreading South Korean movies and explicit material were also among the charges.
The Korean version of the article says that Choi was arrested by border guards on December 30 last year, while trying to trespass into North Korea with the intention of smuggling jewellery to China.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) released a statement on the arrest, demanding the return of the ROK citizens.
“The government demands the release our citizens Kim Kuk-gi and Choi Choong-gil and to send them to us without any delay. The government also demands that our citizens should be secured their safety and convenience and (the North) cooperate actively to let their family and lawyers visit them” the statement reads.
This is not the first time North Korea has arrested South Korean nationals and claimed they were spies. In 2013, the DPRK captured a ROK missionary Kim Jeong-wook and has yet to release him. Last year a Canadian couple who ran a coffee shop in the city were accused of espionage by the Chinese government.
Additional reporting by Subin Kim
Featured image: KCNA
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 504 words of this article.
Featured Image: Handcuffs by .v1ctor Casale. on 2012-01-16 22:06:01