As much as I agree that the National Security Law is overbroad and prone to abuse, cases like this show that parts of it remain necessary for the protection of South Korean citizens, including refugees from the North.
A North Korean defector was sentenced to two years behind bars on Friday for trying to pass on information about fellow defectors in South Korea to Pyongyang authorities.
A local court in this southeastern city said it found the 45-year-old woman, identified only by her surname Kim, guilty of gathering information on about 20 defectors in South Korea and attempting to send it to the North.
She was indicted on charges related to South Korea’s strict National Security Law that bans South Koreans, including North Korean defectors, from having contact with the North. [Yonhap]
Miss Kim told the judge that after her defection, she changed her mind, decided to return, contacted the North Korean
Embassy Consulate in Shenyang, and volunteered to become a spy to earn the right to return. It seems rather more likely that Miss Kim was sent South by the Reconnaissance Bureau of the Workers’ Party to collect intel on others. It seems unlikely that Miss Kim learned the sources and methods of espionage while already in South Korea.