South Korea has returned the body of a convicted North Korean spy to his family.

The body of Chung Sun-Taek, 84, was handed over at the truce village of Panmunjom on Sunday. The transfer of remains was a first for the two Koreas, which are still technically at war despite the truce that ended the Korean conflict more than half a century ago.

Chung died last week of cancer. He served more than 30 years in prison following his arrest in 1958 on espionage charges, but was not allowed to return home to the North.

The elderly ex-spy was one of dozens of former North Korean agents who have been unable to return to their homes after serving prison terms in South Korea. Authorities in Seoul recently suggested they could be repatriated on humanitarian grounds if North Korea takes similar action affecting more than 1,000 South Koreans held by the Communist state - both soldiers and civilians, including many fishermen whose boats were seized by the North.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.