By Kim Rahn
Speculation is that the nation’s spy agency and police know the truth about last week’s break-in to an Indonesian presidential envoy’ hotel room — and maybe Lotte Hotel staff know, too.
Evidence shows that the bungled theft may not have been possible without their active assistance, or at least tacit consent, while the hotel is keeping mum on the incident.
Suspicions begin with the fact that staff neither tried to find the intruders nor reported the incident to the police. This is very unusual, considering the safety and security of guests is priority for a top class hotel.
When a member of the Indonesian delegation found the three intruders — two men and a woman — using a USB memory stick to copy computer files from laptops belonging to the envoy, they fled with one of the computers.
The delegate told this to a man in the corridor, who looked like a hotel staffer according to surveillance camera recordings. The man then went to the emergency stairway where the perpetrators were hiding, as if he knew they were there, and made them return the laptop.
But that was all: He let the intruders leave and didn’t report the incident to the police.
With evidence implicating the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the intrusion, the man is suspected of being a fourth NIS agent who stood guard during the theft attempt.
But Namdaemun Police Station said they suspect he was a staff member, indicating that the hotel “supported” or “covered up” the crime.
Mystery surrounding key
How the intruders opened the room door is also suspicious. It took only six minutes for them to enter the room, try to download the files, and get caught. There were no traces of forced entry, an indication that they opened the door with a keycard.
Hotel insiders say that the digital lock contains records of keycard use and the records could hold clues. But Lotte Hotel officials said the hotel will not investigate the possible loss or copy of master keys.
The intruders also knew the exact room number of their target, implying they were aware of hotel guests’ information, which is confidential.
Lotte Hotel officials said they are unable to comment on the incident until the police investigation results are released.
However, an official hinted that the hotel’s security is good and senior officials would know what happened in Room 1961.
“Lotte is a five-star hotel and our security is not that loose. Theft doesn’t even take place in three-star hotels,” an official said.
There are also rumors the intruders didn’t open the door themselves but that a hotel worker let them in.
The Hankyoreh reported that NIS agents stay in one of the hotel rooms all the time, and at other major hotels in Seoul, on intelligence collection operations, and at that time they were in a room on the 20th floor, one floor up from the delegation.
This is in line with the Jakarta Post’s Monday report. Hatta Rajasa, coordinating minister for economy, said the intruders were guests in room 2061 who happened to enter the wrong room 1961.
Regarding NIS agents’ alleged stay at the hotel, police said they can’t confirm it, adding the hotel has more than 1,000 rooms.
롯데 호텔은 알고 있었을까?
지난주 인도네시아 대통령 특사단의 호텔방 침입 사건에 대해 국정원과 경찰 뿐만 아니라 롯데호텔도 진실을 알고 있을 것이라는 추측이 있다. 호텔측의 도움이나 묵인 없이는 그런 침입이 불가능했을 것이라는 증거들이 나오고 있기 때문이다.
의혹의 시작은 호텔측이 침입자들을 찾거나 사건을 경찰에 신고하지 않았다는 점에서 시작한다. 특사단 중 한명이 침입자들이 USB로 노트북 컴퓨터의 파일을 복사해가려는 것을 발견하자 그들은 노트북 하나를 들고 도망을 쳤다. 그가 복도에서 호텔 직원으로 보이는 남자에게 항의하자, 그는 침입자들이 어디 있는지 알고 있었다는 듯이 그들이 숨어있던 비상계단으로 가서 노트북을 돌려주게 했다.
그러나 그는 침입자들이 그냥 가게 내버려뒀고 경찰에 신고하지도 않았다. 따라서 그 남자가 망을 보고 있던 또다른 국정원 직원이 아니냐는 의혹이 일고 있다.
침입자들이 어떻게 방문을 열었느냐도 미스터리다. 그들이 방에 들어가서 나오기까지 6분밖에 걸리지 않았고, 문을 억지로 연 흔적이 없는 것으로 보아 카드키로 문을 열었다는 추측이 나온다.
그들은 또 정확히 목표물의 방에 들어갔는데, 그들이 호텔 보안 사항인 투숙객 정보를 알고 있었던 것으로 보인다.