SEOUL, March 27 (UPI) -- The anti-Pyongyang group that has been identified as a North Korea government-in-exile confirmed Wednesday it was behind the February raid at the North Korean Embassy in Madrid.
Cheollima Civil Defense, also known as Free Joseon, defended its actions at the North Korean Embassy in Spain last month.
"This was not an attack," the group stated on its proprietary website. "We responded to an urgent situation in the Madrid embassy. We were invited into the embassy, and contrary to reports, no one was gagged or beaten."
The group went on to say North Korean embassies are "not like the traditional diplomatic, commercial and cultural outposts of legitimate governments.
"The regime's embassies and offices are hubs of illicit narcotics and arms trafficking, mediums for the furtherance of propaganda of a totalitarian regime that systematically commit crimes against humanity," Cheollima Civil Defense said. "They are launch pads for global cyberattacks and thefts, assassinations, kidnappings and hostage taking -- including of the families of their own diplomats."
Parts of the statement contradict a Spanish high court ruling. Judge José de la Mata of Spain's Audiencia Nacional has charged the group with six crimes, including unlawful detention, violent robbery and criminal association, Spain's El Pais reported Wednesday.
The Spanish judge also issued international arrest warrants against two of the assailants, Spanish police and judicial sources said.
Cheollima's claim the group was "invited" into the mission is raising speculation whether a North Korean Embassy insider had provided help with the break-in, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Wednesday.
The group also confirmed it "shared certain information of enormous potential value with the FBI in the United States, under mutually agreed terms of confidentiality." It condemned U.S. government sources who "leaked to the media" information about the raid.
Adrian Hong Chang, the alleged leader of the raid where documents and data were taken from computers, is under investigation.
Hong Chang is a U.S. resident who holds a Mexican passport, and allegedly posed as a North Korean diplomat with a Kim Jong Un badge, when police arrived on the scene at the embassy.
Hong Chang's name and profile bears similarity to that of a North Korean human rights activist.
Adrian Hong co-founded Liberty in North Korea, an international NGO.