TORONTO -- Two Canadians were ordered held for a week today on charges they plotted to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan and police said they were investigating a group of North Koreans.
Charles Stephen Yanover, 36, and Alexander Michael Gerol, 33, appeared in court and were ordered held until next Thursday on one charge of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit fraud and four counts of possession of embezzled funds.
Arrest warrants were outstanding for Jung Hwa Choi, 31, alias James Choi, and Nathan Israel Klegerman, 52, of Toronto. Both were wanted for conspiracy to commit murder and Klegerman faced an additional charge of conspiracy to commit fraud. Both men were believed to have fled Canada. Yanover and Gerol were arrested Wednesday after a 6-month investigation which included authorities in the United States, France, West Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Martinique and South Korea. Police did not say where the intended assassination was to be carried out. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau visited South Korea last year, and there was speculation Chun would soon return the visit.
The investigation was sparked by a Toronto lawyer who told Royal Canadian Mounted Police of a plot to assassinate Chun, a close ally of the United States.
Police said the investigation showed several Toronto men agreed to kill Chun for an undetermined amount of money. They accepted the cash, police said, but later reneged on their commitment to carry out the assassination.
In raids on several Toronto homes two weeks ago, investigators from the mounted police, Ontario provincial and Toronto police forces seized $68,000.
'The amount of the fraud could be more,' mounted police Cpl. Ross Oake said.
Oake would give only sketchy details of the probe. 'We are investigating a group of unknown North Koreans who are involved with Mr. Choi.' He said the suspect group was 'outside of Canada.'
'We know Choi was a native South Korean and he was working with some North Koreans, so you can draw your own conclusions,' Oake said.
Oake said Canadian authorities 'have had some assistance in gathering information from the United States through agencies there,' but he said the CIA was not involved.
When arrested Wednesday, Yanover was free on bail charged with conspiring with members of the Ku Klux Klan to overthrow the government of the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica last year.
Yanover, a partner in a Toronto restaurant, was charged along with Toronto Ku Klux Klan leader James Alexander McQuirter Feb. 10 with conspiring to overthrow Dominica's government.
That plot failed when U.S. authorities in New Orleans arrested 10 armed men as they were about to board a boat for the tiny Caribbean nation.