Police on Wednesday arrested two businessmen on suspicion of having attempted to hand over advanced military technologies to North Korea.
They were acting under the direction of a North Korean agent based in northern China, the Seoul District Police Agency said.
The technologies allegedly leaked include electronic jamming devices that could neutralize Seoul’s global positioning systems.
They also tried to pass a radar system for anti-aircraft defense to Pyongyang, according to police.
The suspects were charged with violating the National Security Law and were transferred to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
They had been in the business of trading with North Korea, officials said.
Investigators are looking into whether the technologies were handed over to the communist country and used for its recent cyber-attacks on South Korea.
Early this month, hundreds of commercial jets and ships of South Korea experienced GPS disruptions for more than two weeks.
One of the suspects had been sentenced to a life imprisonment in the 1970s on conviction of spying for North Korea. The 74-year-old man identified only by his surnamed Lee was released on parole in 1990 though he refused to renounce his political beliefs.
Under the direction of a 40-something North Korean agent active in Lioning Province, northeast China, he ordered his 56-year-old accomplice, surnamed Kim, to collect military secrets last July, authorities said.
They gained the information through a former chief executive of a domestic defense contractor, surnamed Chung. Police booked the man without detention.
Police suspect a separate spy organization secured classified data on a location tracing technology used for ballistic missiles. Police got the clues from e-mail messages that Lee sent to Chung.
The incident would constitute a violation of United Nations sanctions that ban sales to the North of weapons and technology that would aid its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
By Shin Hyon-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
<관련 한글 기사>
헉! 군사기밀 북한에 넘긴 일당 덜미 잡혀
GPS 교란 장치 등 최첨단 기술을 북한에 넘긴 일당이 적발되었다.
서울지방경찰청이 30일 밝힌 바에 따르면 이 일당은 지난해 7월 중국에서 북한 공작원으로 추정되는 40대 남성에게 GPS 기술 등 군사정보를 확보하라는 내용의 지령을 받았다고 한다.
유출된 기술 중에는 서울의 GPS 시스템을 무력화시킬 수 있는 전자교란 장비, 고공관측레이더 등이 포함된 것으로 알려졌다.
전문가들은 북한이 이런 방법을 통해 미사일 기술력을 높여온 것으로 보고, 한국을 포함한 주변국에 큰 위협이 될 것으로 분석하고 있다.