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11 people charged with forming anti-state entity

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Published : 2011-07-10 20:02
Updated : 2011-07-10 20:02

Prosecutors are investigating 11 people on charges of establishing an anti-state organization under a directive from North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, officials said Sunday.

Among them was a member of the Korea Higher Education Research Institute, which spearheaded a nationwide campaign to halve college tuitions, triggering criticism that the probe aims to stifle voices against a government policy over the tuition.

Investigators denied the allegations that the probe is targeting anti-government voices.

Last week, investigators at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office raided the offices and homes of 11 labor union officials and opposition party members, who were allegedly involved in the establishment of an undercover political party.

One of them, surnamed Kim, was arrested Friday on charges of violating the National Security Law. Since April 1994, Kim, who runs a mid-sized enterprise here, has allegedly visited Japan 38 times and China 18 times to contact North Korean spies operating there, officials said.

On Saturday, prosecutors raided the institute office in Seoul to find evidence that the official, surnamed Hong, was involved in the formation of the anti-government entity. KHERI officials lashed out at the prosecution, arguing that investigators are attempting to impede their campaign to slash tuition fees.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)