Conflicts & War

South Korea court orders ex-spy chief’s arrest

Seoul, Dec. 3 (EFE).- A court in South Korea ordered on Saturday the arrest of former National Security Adviser Suh Hoon over a suspected cover-up surrounding the killing of a fisheries ministry official by North Korea in 2020.

Suh, who was director of the National Security Office between 2020 and 2022 under former President Moon Jae-in’s administration, is accused of allegedly having helped fabricate an unsubstantiated theory that South Korean fisheries official Lee Dae-jun intended to defect to the North.

He allegedly ordered that internal intelligence reports that contradicted that conclusion be deleted.

The court attributed the issuance of the arrest warrant to the seriousness of the case and the possibility that Suh may try to destroy evidence.

Lee Dae-jun disappeared on Sep. 21, 2020 from the ship he was working on in the Yellow Sea.

A day after he went missing, he was brutally shot down and burned by North Korean troops at sea.

The Moon government concluded that Lee died while trying to defect to the North but the assessment was overturned in June this year after the Coast Guard announced that there was not a single piece of evidence to show that the official wanted to flee to the neighboring country.

Lee’s family has claimed that the then-ruling Democratic Party offered them money to back the defection allegations.

The prosecution is also investigating Suh, who headed the National Intelligence Service between 2017 and 2020, for allegedly ordering an early end to a probe into two North Korean fishermen, who confessed to having killed fellow crew members before fleeing to the South in 2019.

Both were sent back to the North within a few days, a somewhat irregular occurrence since the service’s standard investigation into a defector is 15 days.

Prosecutors believe that the incidents in question were mishandled in order to appease the North Korean regime amid a process to improve inter-Korean ties that began in 2018. EFE


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