N. Korean agents searching for S. Korean rights activists in China: reports
By Kim Eun-ji
North Korea is searching for South Korean activists who have been supporting North Korean escapees in China for the past 10 years, reports said Thursday.
The North Korean State Security Department has a list of the names and photos of more than 20 activists, said a spokesman at the Citizens’ Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees (CHNK) in South Korea.
Teams of special agents were created, based in Dandong and Yanji, northeastern China, last year for this purpose, said the reports.
North Korean agents have been seeking the whereabouts of activists including information providers for the CHNK, said the spokesman.
The list included two missing activists and Kang Ho-bin, a 58-year-old pastor who died in a car crash in Yanbian, northeastern China, in May, according to reports.
“The circumstances were very suspicious to simply say Pastor Kang died in an accident. Since we checked that his name was on the list, we have to take terrorist attacks into account,” said an official working on North Korea-related issues.
Pastor Kang is not the only religious leader who died mysteriously. Many suspected a possible poison attack when a 46-year-old missionary surnamed Kim died in Dandong last August.
“I think North Korea’s assassinations of South Korean human rights activists has now reached a dangerous level,” said CHNK leader Do Hee-yoon. “It is time for us to have a systematic plan as well.”
The writer is a Korea Times intern.