How North Korea Spies And Kills Beyond Its Borders

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North Korea has a long history of dispatching spies to gather information and kill those who pose a threat to the regime.

Kim Jong-un’s older half-brother Kim Jong-nam was killed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Monday by two women believed to be North Korean agents; however, there are still more questions than answers at this point. Kim Jong-nam was an outspoken but unambitious critic of his younger brother. A North Korean assassin tried to kill him a few years ago, reportedly leading him to beg the North Korean dictator to spare his life. Kim Jong-un is rumored to have issued a standing order calling for the assassination of his older brother.

Kim Jong-un has allegedly executed over 300 people since he took power in 2011. He “might be considered the world’s most dangerous man,” RAND Corporation Senior Defense Analyst Bruce Bennett previously told CNN. An assassination is by no means beyond him, but it is unclear whether he was behind the death of his brother.

If the North Korean despot’s brother was killed by North Korean spies, his death will simply be the latest addition to a long list of hits pulled off by agents and spec ops units.

The North sent 31 elite commandos into South Korea to infiltrate the Blue House and assassinate President Park Chung-hee in. They donned South Korean uniforms and slipped on to the grounds. The invasion ultimately failed, and many of the North Koreans were killed or committed suicide. During this 1968 raid, around 90 South Korean people were murdered.

Northern agents attempted to assassinate the president a second time in 1974.

North Korean agents set off a bomb in Myanmar in 1983 in an attempt on South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. The attack killed 17 South Korean officials and four Burmese nationals.

In one of the country’s deadliest attacks, two North Korean operatives detonated a bomb on Korean Airlines Flight 858, ending the lives of 115 passengers. The November 1987 bombing was carried out to derail the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, according to Kim Hyon-hui, one of the agents. She was captured before she could kill herself, as her partner did.

North Korean operatives are suspected to have brutally murdered South Korean consular official Choi Duk-keun’s in Vladivostok, Russia, in October 1996 by bludgeoning him to death.

Assassins dispatched by the North shot high-level defector Yi Han-yong in the head in 1997.

North Korean assassins reportedly killed Pastor Patrick Kim with a poison pen in 2011. He sent Bibles and anti-government booklets criticizing Kim Jong-il. He received warnings from the regime before his death.

These are only a few of countless provocations. Over the years, there have been numerous attempts on South Korean government officials and defectors.

North Korea is particularly fond of using female spies. “Female agents are now being trained to do the killing, using poison,” explained An Chan-il, a North Korean commando who defected to South Korea in the late 1970s. “They can easily hide mini poison injectors made of plastic, either in lipsticks, cosmetics or under their clothes.”

One of the country’s most famous seductress spies is Won Jeong-hwa, who reportedly used sex to get information from foreign military officials and plot assassinations. South Korean media called her “North Korea’s Mata Hari,” a reference to the Dutch exotic dancer who used her talents to learn secrets for Germany during World War I.

North Korea has also kidnapped countless foreign nationals, hijacked aircraft, and sent thousands of troops into South Korea.


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