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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid