February 18, 2005 09:28
Missing former KCIA Director Kim Hyung-wook was murdered in Paris in 1979 by a local crime syndicate at the orders of a KCIA operative, the Monthly Chosun reports. It said the KCIA lured Kim to the French capital, where the gang disposed of his body, a service for which it was paid by the operative.
The latest edition of the magazine published Friday cites testimony by several former high-ranking KCIA figures as well as former Millennium Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Gyeong-je, who ghostwrote the former KCIA director's memoirs.
But the the operative named by former KCIA officials as masterminding the intelligence operation in Paris refused to confirm the claims in a meeting with the magazine.
The magazine reported that a female entertainer was employed to lure Kim from his home in New Jersey to Paris, and the operative, posing as an exchange student, guided Kim around the French capital and handed him over to the Paris gang.
In an interview with the Monthly Chosun, Kim Gyeong-je said the former KCIA chief showed him "love letters" sent by the Korean-born entertainer right before he disappeared. The former lawmaker said Kim Hyung-wook went to Paris to meet with her there.
Several former high-ranking KCIA officials said the intelligence operative returned to Korea two days after Kim’s killing. They said French intelligence only suspected what had happened but did not have enough to pursue an active investigation. The ex-officials testified that South Korean intelligence, having learned its lessons from the botched kidnapping of then-dissident Kim Dae-jung, did not directly involve itself in Kim's elimination. Instead, it hired a local French gang for the job.
Meanwhile, Yun Il-gyun, who was the KCIA vice-director of overseas operations at the time, told the Monthly Chosun that he went to Kim's home in New Jersey in November 1978, and after three days of negotiations extracted the original manuscript of the former spy master's memoirs in return for US$500,000.
But Kim reneged on the deal and published his memoirs in Japan in April 1979, at which point operations designed to stop their publication ceased, Yun said. His testimony puts to rest the commonly held belief that the KCIA had offered Kim US$1.5 million to stop publication of his memoirs, and that Kim went to Paris to collect US$1 million he had yet to receive.
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