Manhunt ensues as North Korean counter-espionage official defects

Lee Sang Yong  |  2018-05-02 17:14

It has been reported that a man identified as Mr. Kang (Senior Colonel, late 50s), the head of the Foreign Counter-Espionage office in charge of North-Eastern China for the Ministry of State Security (MSS) fled overseas in February. He is also known for having a connection to Kim Il Sungs Mother, Kang Pan Sok.

In a conversation with a source in China close to North Korean affairs, it was revealed that Mr. Kang was residing at the Chilbosan Hotel (now Zhongpu International Hotel) in China, overseeing operations at the foreign counter-espionage office for Russia, China, and Southeast Asia, before he suddenly disappeared on February 25. He was reported to have taken a machine capable of printing American dollars and a lot of foreign currency with him.

According to the source, Mr. Kang was a significantly important individual, often being called the Troika of the Foreign Counter-Espionage Office. He was in charge of directing intelligence and ground operations in Russia and China, and supervised the development of essential talent for North Koreas nuclear program by covertly arranging exchanges between Russian and Chinese scientists. 

He is also seen as a very prominent individual due to his ancestry, being a direct descendant of Kang Pan Soks father, Kang Don Uk. (Kang Pan Sok was a key figure during the anti-Japanese movement under Japanese occupation, credited with the creation of the Anti-Japanese Womens Association.) From Kim Jong Uns perspective, Mr. Kang was vital to preserving North Koreas lineage.  

Accordingly, Kim Jong Un ordered his immediate execution upon hearing news of the defection. Right after the incident occurred, 7 agents were immediately dispatched with the mission of assassinating Mr. Kang. After returning empty-handed, 3 more agents were sent out," the source said.

Despite presently being unable to locate Mr. Kang, the search is still underway. It is presumed that he has gone to France or Great Britain. Fearing that he will succeed in acquiring asylum in Europe, it appears that North Korea is going to great efforts to kill him before this occurs.

It can also be speculated that the efforts to assassinate him are being prompted by the fact that he had access to large amounts of information related to North Koreas foreign affairs. Both sources noted that he ran away with top secret information.

Mr. Kangs motivation for defection was referenced as discovery of corruption." Mr. Kangs son was subjected to a domiciliary search conducted by Group 109 (a team tasked with cracking down on foreign media inside North Korea) in response to him watching South Korean and US movies, during which documents inferring corrupt behavior by Mr. Kang were found.

A source in Pyongyang, who corroborated the details of the defection and assassination orders, said that "ledgers that detailed activities and money earned in secret while abroad were discovered during the search, prompting an immediate summons being issued for Mr. Kang. Having a bad feeling about the situation, Mr. Kang then decided to flee."

After the Thae Yong Ho asylum incident, the North Korean government changed its rules for elite officials overseas, banning them from living with their families. Mr Kangs family is currently still in North Korea, as he was not allowed to bring them with him," he said.

*Translated by Brian Boyle

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