North Korea ‘plotted to kill high profile defector’

April 21, 2010 03:47

South Korea says it has uncovered a plot to assassinate the most senior official ever to have defected from Communist North Korea.

From BBC News

Two North Koreans, said to have been posing as defectors themselves, have been arrested on suspicion of being on a mission to kill Hwang Jang-yop.

Mr Hwang, 87, once a close confidant of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, defected to the South in 1997.

Pyongyang’s official government website had recently threatened him with death.

The alleged plot to kill Mr Hwang was uncovered when the two men, named by the Yonhap news agency as Kim and Tong, crossed into South Korea from Thailand earlier this year, posing as defectors themselves.

They were questioned by South Korean officials during the debriefing sessions that await all North Korean refugees who make it to Seoul.

A unnamed senior official at Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office told reporters they had said their orders were to “slit the betrayer’s throat”, the Associated Press news agency reports.

‘Human scum’

Mr Hwang, who was once the secretary of the North Korean Workers’ Party, has said he left the country after witnessing the impact of disastrous economic policies which led to widespread famine in the 1990s.

He left close family members behind, many of whom are reported to have been sent to labour camps.

Mr Hwang lives under heavy police protection at an undisclosed location and has remained a harsh critic of Pyongyang.


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