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Prosecutors raid spy agency in investigations into Moon-era North Korea controversies

Suh Hoon (left) and Park Jie-won, both of whom served as the director of the National Intelligence Service during the Moon administration, converse during a government meeting in February 2020. (Yonhap)
Suh Hoon (left) and Park Jie-won, both of whom served as the director of the National Intelligence Service during the Moon administration, converse during a government meeting in February 2020. (Yonhap)

Seoul prosecutors on Wednesday afternoon raided the National Intelligence Service as a part of investigations into two North Korea-related controversies allegedly linked to the Moon Jae-in administration’s two spy chiefs -- Park Jie-won and Suh Hoon.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office told reporters that the raid sought materials associated with the 2020 shooting death of a Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries worker named Lee Dae-jun and the 2019 deportation of two North Korean fishermen.

Wednesday’s raid comes less than a week since the NIS filed criminal complaints against its two former directors, with the prosecutors following an internal investigation that took place last month. This marks the fourth raid of the NIS by prosecutors in history.

The NIS accused Park of destroying records concerning the killing of Lee by North Korea, and Suh of abusing his powers to drop the investigation into the two North Korean fishermen prematurely.

In a message to reporters, the NIS said that the prosecutors did not have direct access to its servers during the raid. The NIS said it submitted files requested by the prosecutors as per the court’s warrant, which is the way raids of national agencies are usually conducted.

The NIS said it intended to “fully comply with the investigations by the prosecutors.”

Also on Wednesday, NIS agents and Ministry of National Defense officials were interviewed by the prosecutors as witnesses in the investigations.

On Monday, prosecutors questioned the director of the Defense Ministry’s policy planning division, Youn Hyeong-jin. Youn was among maritime and military authorities who announced on June 16 that there was no evidence the slain fisheries official had tried to defect to North Korea, overturning the initial conclusion.

By Kim Arin (arin@heraldcorp.com)
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