Prosecutors probe lawmaker for links to North Korean spying

Prosecutors probe lawmaker for links to North Korean spying

NORTH KOREA - Prosecutors have reportedly secured circumstantial evidence that lawmaker Lee Seok-ki and his alleged underground organisation are linked to North Korea's espionage operations against the South.

The politician also visited North Korea as part of the Mount Geumgang tour in 2005 and 2007, but any ulterior motive remains unconfirmed.

Lee, a member of the minor Unified Progressive Party, is accused of conspiring to stage an armed revolt and forming an anti-state organisation called "Revolutionary Organisation." The group is thought to have been formed within the controversial East Gyeonggi Coalition with around 130 members.

The National Assembly was expected to approve a motion to allow prosecutors' arrest of the lawmaker by the deadline on Wednesday.

The circumstantial evidence seized by the authorities allegedly shows that some of the "RO" members slipped into North Korea, contacted the North's espionage group and are connected to "highly trained reconnaissance agents from the North."

The NIS believe that the past activities of Lee and core RO members in Minhyukdang, or the "People's Democratic Revolutionary Party," in the 1990s to uphold North Korea's Juche thought, led to continued links to the North.

The NIS also cited the past visits made individually or in groups by the alleged RO members who have been summoned for search and seizure.

The Unification Ministry, meanwhile, said Lee's North Korea visit during the Roh Moo-hyun administration was made as part of a group tour and that his admittance was approved without an issue. The ministry also said it was difficult to identify any other activity by Lee aside from the tour at the time.

The NIS is reportedly analysing lecture contents, anti-state publications, and other videotapes, CDs and floppy disks that they confiscated from the search and seizure on Aug. 27.

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