The National Intelligence Service official, identified by the surname Kim, is suspected of having ordered a collaborator to obtain the Chinese immigration documents used to appeal a lower court’s acquittal of Yoo Woo-seong, a former Seoul City official accused of spying for North Korea.
Kim, who was arrested on Saturday, has denied the allegations that he gave orders to the NIS collaborator, who is also named Kim.
|Yoo Woo-seong, a former Seoul City official accused of espionage, speaks at a press conference, accusing the spy agency and the prosecution of fabricating evidence against him on Saturday in Seoul. (Yonhap)|
The investigators are also said to be analyzing Foreign Ministry documents to determine whether the ministry was involved in obtaining the Chinese government documents in question.
The Foreign Ministry appears likely to come under additional scrutiny as the investigators attempt to verify whether Lee In-chul informed its officials about the immigration documents.
Lee, an NIS official posted as a consul at the South Korean mission in Shenyang, China, is suspected of having played a crucial role in delivering the papers to the NIS.
As the scandal grows, allegations are rising that Yoo’s defense team also tampered with documents to bolster his case.
On Monday, a local daily reported that the North Korean visa submitted by Yoo dated Nov. 30, 2002, may have been tampered with, citing differences in the same documents revealed on two separate occasions.
According to the report, the visa number was added to the document after it was first revealed to an online news outlet.
Questions have also been raised about the Chinese documents Yoo’s defense team submitted to explain irregularities in his travel documents.
The immigration documents Yoo submitted showed that he entered North Korea once but returned to China on three occasions between May and June of 2006. The defense later used a document from a Chinese immigration authority to show that the irregularities occurred because of a system upgrade.
While Yoo’s sister claims that she obtained the document, the documents used to obtain it on Yoo’s behalf specified that his father was the proxy.
In addition, the explanation issued by a Chinese immigration office specifies May 23 to May 27 of 2006 as the verification dates. The dates specified in the letter giving the power of attorney to his proxy, however, are June 23 to June 27 of 2006.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)