NSA Involved in Unparalleled Sting

Kim So Yeol  |  2011-10-20 09:48
The more than 20 defectors arrested in Shenyang last month were the targets of a meticulously planned operation by North Koreas National Security Agency (NSA), The Daily NK has learned. The operation is being called a pilot by some, a new front in the regimes attempts to halt the flow of defectors out of the country.

A source in Seoul told The Daily NK yesterday, The simultaneous round up of these defectors was organized by 4 agents stationed by the NSA in Tumen, Jilin. These agents were kept a close eye on the group while planning the arrests.

The source continued, The NSA team was formed back in August and had been planning the operation since then. Now the NSA is itself spreading rumors to focus attention on its contribution.

It appears the NSA planned the operation primarily to give itself an achievement in the field of defection, feeling somewhat threatened by recent inspections led by the military in the border region. At the same time, the NSA probably hoped to put the frighteners on the ranks of brokers working secretly on the Chinese side of the border.

A source on the spot in China told The Daily NK that the action was a joint effort between the NSA and Chinese security forces, and one that seems rather unusual.

It was not like any of the group held important posts in North Korea or took sensitive material with them, so the fact that the NSA sent agents all the way to Shenyang to arrest them is completely unprecedented, the source noted, adding, The defectors split up into three teams in Yangji, Qingdao etc to depart then gathered in Shenyang. However it appears as though the NSA had gotten wind of the precise meeting location and time. Looked at like this, it seems they planned their moves in detail.

Meanwhile, the source said that a rumor whereby the group was quietly repatriated to North Korea on October 15th is spreading. According to the rumors, the group is currently being detained at an NSA facility in Onseong County, North Hamgyung Province, where NSA agents from Pyongyang have been sent to investigate the case.

However, the South Korean government has rejected the rumor, with one anonymous official asserting, We have not heard anything from the Chinese government about them being repatriated, and adding that the government believes they have not been.

The official continued, There was a previous story about 15 of them being repatriated, but that was a baseless rumor. It is unlikely the Chinese government would deal with the matter like that without telling us first.

Responding to questions from National Assembly lawmakers yesterday morning, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan also said the government was certain the defectors had not yet been returned to North Korea, and that it was in discussions with China to prevent it from happening.
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