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South Korean intelligence agent sentenced to prison for framing defector

The South Korean government agent was found guilty of instructing other agents to falsify the Chinese immigration records of Yoo Woo-seong, a defector from North Korea.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Yoo Woo-seong, a defector from North Korea, was the victim of a South Korean intelligence agent's attempt to frame him for spying on behalf of Pyongyang. Photo by Yonhap
Yoo Woo-seong, a defector from North Korea, was the victim of a South Korean intelligence agent's attempt to frame him for spying on behalf of Pyongyang. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, May 20 (UPI) -- A South Korean intelligence agent was sentenced to four years in prison for framing a defector from North Korea.

The 49-year-old officer, Kim Bo-hyeon, was found guilty of instructing other government agents to falsify the Chinese immigration records of Yoo Woo-seong, reported Yonhap.

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Yoo is a 34-year-old defector, and was a Seoul city employee when he was taken into custody in 2013, reported South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh. He is also ethnically Chinese -- a tiny minority inside the isolated country.

Kim Sang-joon, the South Korean judge presiding over the case, said the intelligence agent "obstructed the state's legal functions and undermined the people's trust in the state intelligence agency."

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Lee In-cheol, an envoy based in the South Korean consulate in Shenyang, China, also was fined $6,390 for delivering forged documents to South Korea's National Intelligence Service -- that Kim and fellow agents then used to frame Yoo.

In the past, Yoo has been accused of gathering information on 200 North Korean defectors while working at Seoul's city hall. The forged documents falsified Yoo's immigration records, showing Yoo entering and exiting North Korea multiple times from 1998 to 2006.

Two other South Korean intelligence agents, Lee Jae-yun and Kwon Se-yeong, were each ordered to pay $9,100 and $6,390 fines, respectively, for collaborating with Kim in the case.

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Two ethnic Korean Chinese nationals, Kim Won-ha and Kim Myeong-seok were sentenced to two years and one-and-a-half years in prison, respectively, for abetting the forgeries.

Yoo was found not guilty of the crimes charged in August 2013.

In response to the verdict, the sentenced intelligence agents bribed the two Chinese nationals to abet the forgeries of Yoo's immigration records.

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