Archive for the ‘North Korea’ Category

Won Jeong-hwa (1974-), a North Korean expatriate to South Korea was arrested over the summer for being a spy-dame.

Nothing is truly known of Won’s early life or her possible motives. What is known is that Won defected to South Korea seven years ago and was exemplified as the ideal defector from the North. She was employed touring military bases lecturing on the evils of the communist regime and this is where things get sticky.

Won is accused of photographing military bases, weapons, gathering intel on South Korean military officers, and keeping tabs on other North Korean defectors. There’s some speculation that she was sent in to assassinate another high-profile defector, but evidence is shaky at best.

However, as patrons of NOC agents are wont to do, North Korea is disavowing Won and leaving her to her own devices.

In the meantime, this mother of one is asking for leniency. She claims to have been arrested for theft in North Korea and forced into the trade when the state made threats against her family. It should also be mentioned that Won is a second generation spy. Her father was killed years before during an operation gone sour in South Korea.

To date: Won has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. I think this is telling in that South Korea is quick to execute when they are absolutely certain of guilt. But this incident has really shaken up intelligence in South Korea in that they believe Won is the tip of the iceberg of North Korean agents running amuck in the country, and for a government that prides itself on being able to spot the baddies, this is a big deal.

Let’s hope they don’t let pride get in the way of good intel work and start rounding up “the usual suspects”.