N.Korean 'Mata Hari' Held

      May 24, 2010 11:52

      South Korea has arrested a woman on charges of spying for North Korea, the National Intelligence Service here said Sunday. Kim Mi-hwa (36) allegedly obtained classified documents about the Seoul subway through a former Seoul Metro employee identified as Oh and reported the information to the North.

      She met Oh, who also has been arrested, on the Internet. Kim allegedly works for the North's State Security Department, which also sent another female spy arrested in 2008 for collecting military secrets from officers while posing as a defector.

      Prosecutors said that Kim crossed the Duman (or Tumen) River into China in February 2006 and, disguising herself as a Korean Chinese, got a job at a hotel in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province. Running a small travel agency, she allegedly collected information about the South from Oh and others she met online. In June 2007, Oh found out that she was a North Korean agent, but nevertheless he allegedly passed her 300 pages of classified information from Seoul Metro including emergency contacts, operation reports, and  work logs in October the same year. Prosecutors speculate that these documents could be used for terrorist attacks.

      In May 2006, Oh traveled to China at Kim's suggestion and the two became lovers. Later Oh handed Kim W300 million (US$1=W1,199) to become a partner in her business. She allegedly asked him to explore a market for North Korean-made narcotics but they failed to find one.

      Kim also obtained tourist lists from two South Korean travel agency staff that included a number of public servants and police officers. An investigation is underway to look into whether the two handed over the lists to Kim knowing that she was a spy.

      In March last year, Kim was allegedly ordered by the SSD to slip into South Korea. Passing herself off as a North Korean defector, she arrived in September last year through the South Korean Embassy in Laos but was unmasked under questioning early this year.

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