22-09-2021 07:43 PM Jerusalem Timing

North Korea Parades Defector Who ‘Worked as South Korea Agent’

North Korea Parades Defector Who ‘Worked as South Korea Agent’

North Korea has paraded a defector accused of being involved in a child abduction plot that Pyongyang says was masterminded by South Korean agents.

South Korea - North KoreaNorth Korea has paraded a defector accused of being involved in a child abduction plot that Pyongyang says was masterminded by South Korean agents.

In a press conference in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, Ko Hyon-chol confessed to the accusation, saying he was trying to kidnap two North Korean female orphans and bring them to the South.

“I committed the unpardonable crime of being involved in attempted child abduction,” he told the press briefing attended by foreign media and diplomats.

Ko, 53, said his South Korean handlers had told him to arrange the kidnapping of orphans from North Korea, promising him USD 10,000 for each child, adding, “So I set about abducting children but it wasn’t easy.”

Ko had originally fled North Korea in January 2013 because he had been involved in smuggling and was being investigated by Pyongyang authorities. He lived in China for about a year before arriving in the South in 2014 via Laos and Thailand.

Ko was automatically granted South Korean citizenship after settling in the South.

He was arrested hours after crossing a river into North Korea from China with his inflatable boat on May 27.

Ko said he was sent by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) to the Chinese border city of Dandong to kidnap orphans from North Korea.

The NIS has denied any involvement in the case.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a statement it regretted that the North had detained a South Korean national and used him for what it described as propaganda.

“The government strongly demands North Korea release our citizens including Ko Hyon-Chol and immediately repatriate them,” the ministry said in a statement.