Hwang Jang Yop Assassination Team Indicted

In America, lawyers often say you can indict a ham sandwich. In the federal system, an indictment means only that probable causes exists to believe that an offense was committed and that the defendant committed it. In Korea, however, if the prosecution indicts, it means they think they have the goods on you. It means they think that your confession (however coerced) and the statements against you (most likely hearsay) and other evidence (however circumstantial) are enough to convince the judges (who may or may not be dozing in court) that you’re guilty. Statistically speaking, if you’re indicted, you’re as good as knackered. So with that said, the prosecutors in Seoul think they have the goods on Major Kim Yong-ho and Major Dong Myong-gwan of the Reconnaissance Bureau of the Worker’s Party of Chosun:

Two North Korean agents sent to South Korea to assassinate Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking official ever to defect from Pyongyang, were indicted yesterday. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office indicted two North Koreans, Kim, 36, and Tong, 36, on charges of coming to South Korea, posing as North Korean defectors, to assassinate Hwang under an order by the spy agency of the North’s Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.

Kim and Tong allegedly came to South Korea last December, by way of China and Thailand. According to prosecutors, the two said they were ordered to keep a close eye on Hwang and report back a detailed plan to assassinate him. Also, the two said that the spy agency told them that even if Hwang was dying of old age, he must not be allowed to die naturally.

Second lieutenants Kim and Tong were made members of the spy agency in September 1992, prosecutors said. They entered South Korea posing as distant relatives of Hwang. [Joongang Ilbo]

And right after the election, too! I question the timing.

President Bush removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on October 11, 2008 as a good faith gesture in anticipation of its complete, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear disarmament. On February 3, 2010, President Obama concluded that there was insufficient evidence of North Korea’s recent sponsorship of terrorism to restore it to the list.