10 Koreans 'Tried to Contact ISIS'

  • By Hwang Dae-jin

    November 19, 2015 12:37

    Ten Koreans have tried to contact Islamic State or ISIS because they support the Middle Eastern terror group, the National Intelligence Service said Wednesday. The revelation came at a National Assembly hearing on the terror threat to Korea following last week's terror attacks in Paris.

    According to the NIS, the 10 went beyond simply expressing their enthusiasm online but attempted to get in touch with the Islamist group. Authorities plan to slap travel bans on them should they attempt to join ISIS in the Middle East.

    The intelligence agency recently nabbed two Koreans for attempting to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS and identified four foreign followers.

    "A growing number of people in Korea are showing an interest in ISIS and there has been an increase in Muslim workers coming to the country," an NIS official said. "This raises the risks of terror activities by ISIS in Korea."

    ISIS recently included Korea on a list of 62 target nations it accuses of being part of a modern "crusader alliance."

    There are no laws in Korea that give authorities the right to prosecute individuals for simply supporting ISIS beliefs. "Our hands are tied when it comes to dealing with potential threats," a government official said.

    An NIS official lamented limitations in monitoring the electronic and financial activities of individuals due to privacy issues. A court warrant is necessary to monitor e-mails or other online exchanges with ISIS, but such warrants are not issued without concrete evidence, such as purchase records showing intent to produce explosive devices.

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