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Seoul arrests suspected N Korean assassin

Last Updated: Friday, September 16, 2011 - 15:10

Seoul: South Korea has arrested a North
Korean agent who plotted to assassinate an outspoken
anti-Pyongyang activist with a poison-tipped needle, the
intended victim and a news report said on Friday.

The agent, identified only as An, was in possession of
the needle and other weapons at the time of his arrest, Yonhap
news agency said.

The target of the apparent plot, the latest of several
blamed on Pyongyang, was activist Park Sang-Hak, who is
involved in launching cross-border propaganda leaflets
fiercely critical of the North`s regime.

He said the plot was foiled by South Korea`s National
Intelligence Service (NIS).

An, a former North Korean special forces commando aged in
his 40s, came to the South in the late 1990s as a defector but
disappeared several years ago, according to Yonhap.

After resurfacing in the South in February, An sought to
meet Park.

But Park, alerted by the anti-espionage agency, said he
did not show up for a meeting with An at a subway station in
southern Seoul on September 3.

"An told me by phone that he was to be accompanied by a
visitor from Japan who wants to help our efforts. But then I
was told by the NIS not to go to the meeting due to the risk
of assassination," Park told a news agency.

"Following advice from intelligence authorities and
police, I don`t see any strangers these days."

An NIS spokesman said the agency did not comment on cases
under investigation.

Park is a former North Korean defector who along with
other activists sends thousands of anti-Pyongyang leaflets
across the border, sparking angry protests from North Korea.

It has threatened to fire across the border at launch
sites for the towering gas balloons that carry the leaflet
bundles. Recent leaflets have urged North Koreans to rise up
"like Libyan rebels" and topple the regime.

Park told Yonhap a woman who claimed to be a defector had
visited his office and offered help in his campaigns to send
the leaflets.

But the woman disappeared afterward, he said. Yonhap
said authorities were looking for her as a suspect.


First Published: Friday, September 16, 2011 - 15:10
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