News / Asia

    S. Korean Spy Chief Apologizes for Forgeries in N. Korea Spy Case

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye  looks at the exhibition 'DMZ-Gruenes Band' during a visit to the East Side Gallery in Berlin, March 27, 2014.
    South Korean President Park Geun-hye looks at the exhibition 'DMZ-Gruenes Band' during a visit to the East Side Gallery in Berlin, March 27, 2014.
    Daniel Schearf
    South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) has apologized after its agents were found to have provided forged Chinese documents that were used to prosecute an alleged North Korean spy. President Park Geun-hye expressed regret at the scandal, which has further tarnished the NIS' image, and demanded an overhaul of the agency.  

    The head of South Korea's intelligence service, Nam Jae-joon, on Tuesday issued a rare public apology over a North Korea spy scandal.
     
    Public prosecutors said National Intelligence Service agents forged Chinese immigration records as evidence in an espionage case against Yoo Woo-seong, a North Korean dissident.

    South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports the main opposition party in South Korea has demanded President Park Geun-hye fire Nam because of the case.
     
    A deputy chief of the NIS resigned late Monday after an investigation confirmed the scandal. Three more intelligence agents, including one at the South Korean consulate in Shenyang, China, and an ethnic Chinese Korean are facing charges.
     
    But prosecutors Monday concluded the forgery was not orchestrated by NIS leaders and chief Nam is not currently facing any disciplinary action. He apologized to the people for causing concern.
     
    He said the NIS will try to develop scientific, investigative techniques and strengthen the agency’s capabilities of probing pro-North Korean cases. He said this is the major task of the NIS through a strong restructuring.
     
    It was not immediately clear if the case against the North Korean dissident Yoo would be dismissed over the false evidence.
     
    Yoo escaped to the South in 2004 and worked for the Seoul city government. But prosecutors allege he was secretly working for Pyongyang.
     
    He was suspected of collecting and turning over information on more than 200 fellow dissidents to North Korea in trips through China.
     
    Yoo denies the charges and was acquitted by a lower court. But an appeal by prosecutors included the new evidence of Chinese immigration records.
     
    Chinese officials raised suspicions about the credibility of the documents in February, leading to the investigation.
     
    The NIS scandal is the latest in a series to hit the spy agency.
     
    Some of its agents were charged with trying to influence public opinion online for the 2012 presidential election.
     
    Former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon is also facing charges of election meddling and in January was sentenced to two years in prison for graft.
     
    South Korea's President Park Geun-hye Tuesday demanded an overhaul of the spy agency.

    She said she feels sorry for causing concern for the people as wrong practices of the NIS and inexhaustible holes in its management system have been regrettably revealed. The NIS must take excruciating efforts to overhaul itself, she said, to make sure such incidents will not happen again. She said she will take strong measures if any case again occurs that loses people’s trust.
     
    North Korea had no immediate comment on the spying scandal but usually denies it engages in espionage.
     
    South Korea's Ministry of Defense on Friday said three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, found crashed in the country in recent weeks were almost certainly from North Korea.
     
    Pyongyang dismissed the accusation and offered to send officials for a joint investigation of the drones.
     
    The Defense Ministry dismissed the offer, calling it a psychological tactic unworthy of consideration.

    VOA Seoul Bureau Producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora