After South Korea police raided a Christian group in connection to North Korea espionage charges, the group's spokesman said the raids were South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s attempt to influence public opinion and to prevent the repatriation of a North Korean defector. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo
SEOUL, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Seoul's spy agency raided the offices of a Christian organization on Friday on charges of violating South Korea's anti-Pyongyang National Security Law, after the group helped a North Korean defector who wanted to return home hold a press conference.
Law enforcement and National Intelligence Service personnel entered the offices of the group known as Christian Peace Action Shepherds at 1 p.m. Friday, and also served search warrants at the residences of Pastors Choe Jae-bong and Kim Seong-yun. Police also issued an arrest warrant for Kim, News 1 reported.
Police said they have evidence the two religious clerics had been in contact with North Korean agents, and that Kim had met with spies affiliated with Office 225 of Pyongyang's Workers' Party, during a trip to the Chinese city of Dalian in April 2011.
There, Kim had received instructions from underground organizations, and again secretly met with North Korean agents in Malaysia, according to police.
A law enforcement source said Choe was out of the country. But once he returns from China, and after the seized documents from the raid are analyzed, police would determine whether to issue a subpoena, the source said.
Christian Peace Action Shepherds received public attention in August after staging a press conference for the North Korean defector who said she wished to return to the North. Kim Ryon-hui had said she was tricked into defecting by South Korean agents in China.
On Friday, the group immediately held a press conference outside the building where the raid had occurred and condemned the police and Seoul's spy agency for "devising a sinister plot" to engage in "religious persecution," Yonhap reported.
The group also said the raids were South Korean President Park Geun-hye's attempt to influence public opinion and to prevent the repatriation of Kim Ryon-hui.