An appeals court Wednesday sentenced a South Korean intelligence agent to four years in prison, convicting him of ordering the fabrication of documents to frame a North Korean defector as a spy.
The ruling by the Seoul High Court was heavier than the imprisonment of two and a half years handed down by a lower court to the 49-year-old National Intelligence Service agent, surnamed Kim.
Kim was convicted of instructing other agents to forge the Chinese immigration records of Yoo Woo-seong, a 34-year-old defector who was then an employee of the Seoul municipal government, to charge him with espionage.
"The nature of the agent's crime is very poor as he obstructed the state's legal functions and undermined the people's trust in the state intelligence agency, which is tasked with protecting national security," said judge Kim Sang-joon.
The judge ordered two other ranking NIS officials, surnamed Lee and Kwon, to pay fines of 10 million won ($9,100) and 7 million won, respectively, for colluding with Kim.
Lee In-cheol -- an official working as a South Korean consul in China -- was given a 7 million won fine for handing over the forged document to the NIS agents.
Prosecutors alleged that Yoo had collected information on 200 fellow defectors while working for the Seoul municipal government and relayed the information to the North, citing his immigration records between 1998 and 2006 showing multiple entries into the communist state. (Yonhap)