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Seoul spy company raids labour group over suspected N. Korea ties

SEOUL: South Korea’s spy company on Wednesday raided the nation’s major labour union group, saying it was a part of a years-long investigation into whether or not some members had unlawful hyperlinks to North Korea.

Seoul stays formally at battle with its nuclear-armed neighbour, and below its controversial Nationwide Safety Act, even possession of publications or different supplies produced within the North is usually a prison offence.

Spying or secretly working for the North Korean regime is punishable by as much as life imprisonment, in accordance with the legislation. Officers from the Nationwide Intelligence Service and the police raided the workplace of the Korean Confederation of Commerce Unions (KCTU) in central Seoul, saying a few of its members have been suspected of getting “ties with North Korea”, the spy company mentioned.

“We and the nationwide police company have been finishing up our personal investigation into the suspects’ alleged ties with North Korea for a number of years,” an official from the spy company instructed AFP.

“Based mostly on the proof obtained within the course of, we judged {that a} obligatory investigation was essential, and we went forward with the raid after the courtroom issued a search and seizure warrant,” he added.

Investigators consider 4 KCTU officers met with North Korean brokers from Pyongyang in Cambodia and Vietnam, in 2017 and 2019, respectively, Seoul’s Yonhap Information Company reported.

The KCTU termed the raid “barbaric”, accusing Seoul’s conservative administration of “conniving” to focus on the labour organisation. As one of many nation’s largest umbrella union teams, the KCTU was linked to latest strike motion by some truck drivers, whose union falls below the KCTU.

President Yoon Suk-yeol final month ordered hanging drivers within the cement, gas and metal sectors again to work, threatening jail time or fines, prompting them to finish the weeks-long motion.

The Nationwide Safety Act, which dates again to 1948, blocks abnormal residents from accessing most North Korean-produced content material, together with its official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

It has been broadly criticized, together with by the United Nations, which says it’s a “significantly problematic” problem to freedom of expression within the South.

Hundreds of individuals — together with labour activists — have been imprisoned below the legislation by the navy governments that dominated the South for many years, typically accused of participating in pro-Pyongyang actions or spying for the North.

However the legislation stays on the books, and simply final yr two South Koreans, together with a serving military captain, have been arrested on expenses of stealing navy secrets and techniques for a suspected North Korean agent who allegedly paid them in cryptocurrency.





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