In the News – Kiwi charged with spying for North Korea

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In the News – Kiwi charged with spying for North Korea

A NATURALISED New Zealander has been arrested in South Korea on suspicion of spying for North Korea after secretly being filmed meeting with an agent from that country.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported a 56-year-old man and a 74-year-old man were arrested in early May on charges of collecting military intelligence for North Korea.

The Chosun Ilbo, one of South Korea’s largest newspapers, reported that one of these men known only as “Kim” is a Korean-born New Zealand citizen. The other man is known as “Lee”.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman confirmed a New Zealander has been arrested in South Korea and that consular assistance has been offered to the man.

A police statement issued to Yonhap said the two men had been arrested for allegedly taking instruction from a North Korean agent while in the Chinese city of Dandong, along the North Korean border, in July last year.

Police say they have footage of the pair meeting with the agent and a statement from “Kim” saying he had received an order from North Korea, Chosun Ilbo reported.

It’s also alleged one of the men passed equipment capable of disturbing Global Positioning System (GPS) signals and intelligence on high-tech military equipment to the other accused.

It was not immediately clear whether the equipment and information was passed to the North Korean agent, Yonhap reported.

The 74-year-old was reportedly sentenced to life in prison on a separate espionage charge in 1972, though he was released on parole in 1990.

Still, he retains his allegiance to North Korea, according to the police statement issued to Yonhap.

The arrest of the alleged spies coincided with North Korea’s jamming of GPS signals, a satellite-based navigation system widely used by planes, ships and the military as well as in vehicles.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – S. Korean police arrest two suspected spies for N. Korea

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In the News – S. Korean police arrest two suspected spies for N. Korea

SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) — South Korean police said Thursday they have arrested two men suspected of spying for a North Korean intelligence agency.

The two men, aged 56 and 74 and both involved in business with North Korea, were arrested in early May on charges of collecting military intelligence after being instructed by a man believed to be a North Korean agent in Dandong, a Chinese city along the North Korean border, in July last year, police said in a statement.

The 74-year-old received equipment capable of disturbing global positioning system (GPS) signals and other intelligence on high-tech military equipment from the 56-year-old.

Police said they referred the case to prosecutors last week.

It was not immediately clear whether the 74-year-old passed the equipment and other military intelligence to the suspected North Korean agent.

Repeated calls to police seeking a comment went unanswered on Thursday.

The 74-year-old was sentenced to life in prison on a separate espionage charge in 1972, though he was released on parole in 1990. Still, he retains his allegiance to North Korea, according to the police statement.

The arrest of the alleged spies coincided with North Korea’s jamming of GPS signals, a satellite-based navigation system widely used by planes, ships and the military as well as ordinary drivers.

South Korea has said North Korea disrupted GPS signals between April 28 and May 13, affecting more than 650 flights by South Korean and foreign airlines, including Korean Air, FedEx and United Airlines.

However, North Korea has denied responsibility for the jamming attacks, calling Seoul’s accusation a “new farce and smear campaign” against Pyongyang.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Rogue N.Korean Soldiers Suspected in Hijack of Chinese Boats

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In the News – Rogue N.Korean Soldiers Suspected in Hijack of Chinese Boats

Three Chinese fishing boats that were seized by a small North Korean Navy boat on the West Sea on May 8 returned to Dalian Port at around 7 a.m. on Monday. The fishermen were given a health check immediately after they arrived. Three complained of extreme dizziness, and three others showed clear signs of external injuries, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Twenty eight Chinese fishermen had been abducted, not 29 as reported earlier.

The owners of the Chinese fishing boats said the crew were taken to the coast of North Hwanghae Province in North Korea. They were kept in a dark room all day and given just two bowls of gruel a day. They were beaten with sticks or metal rods if they failed to obey orders, and the food and supplies in their ships were plundered. Just before they were released, the captors erased the navigational records on the GPS devices on the fishing boats, the fishermen said.

On Sunday the North Korean Foreign Ministry said the fishermen were returned with no strings attached. Initially, the captors had demanded a ransom of 90,000 yuan (around W160 million) per vessel.

“That was something that should not happen between the two countries. We understand the complaints of the Chinese people,” a North Korean official was quoted as saying by China’s Global Times.

In the News – N. Korea denies jamming GPS signals in S. Korea

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In the News – N. Korea denies jamming GPS signals in S. Korea

SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) — North Korea on Friday denied being responsible for the jamming of satellite navigation signals, which affected hundreds of commercial flights and ships in South Korea’s border area.

South Korea has accused North Korea of disrupting global positioning system (GPS) signals between April 28 and May 13 from the North’s western border city of Kaesong.

GPS is a satellite-based navigation system widely used by planes, ships and the military as well as ordinary drivers.

The jamming attacks have affected more than 650 flights by South Korean and foreign airlines, including Korean Air, FedEx and United Airlines, although no accidents have been reported, according to the transportation ministry.

North Korea has rejected Seoul’s accusation, however, calling it a “new farce and smear campaign” against Pyongyang.

South Korea “stuck to its inveterate bad habit of shifting the blame for the scandals committed by its clan onto compatriots,” a spokesman for the North’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry said in comments carried in an English-language statement by the official Korean Central News Agency.

The unidentified spokesman blamed South Korea for spreading “misinformation” that North Korea used Russian equipment in jamming GPS signals and that it stopped jamming attacks under Chinese influence.

On Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing and they agreed to cooperate to deal “more effectively” with North Korea’s provocations, including the GPS jamming.

China is widely believed to be the only country that has leverage over North Korea, as Beijing is Pyongyang’s key ally, economic benefactor and diplomatic supporter.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – N. Korea stops sending out GPS jamming signals against S. Korea: source

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In the News – N. Korea stops sending out GPS jamming signals against S. Korea: source

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) — North Korea appears to have stopped jamming satellite signals in an apparent attempt to disrupt air and maritime traffic navigation systems in parts of South Korea, a high-ranking government source in Seoul said Tuesday.

The North has been blamed for global positioning system (GPS) disruptions that affected hundreds of commercial flights and ships in and out of South Korea since April 28, although no damage was caused as all had backup navigational systems.

“GPS jamming signals from North Korea have not been detected since May 14,” the source said on condition of anonymity, adding the South’s military is keeping “close watch” on the North’s activities.

The source did not rule out the possibility North Korea could send such signals again.

The South’s military is analyzing why North Korea sent the GPS jamming signals from its western border city of Kaesong, officials said.

The signal-scrambling may have been intended to “test electronic warfare devices by the North Korean military or block mobile phone signals inside the North,” said an official at the South’s military, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“We are closely watching activities in military units in Kaesong where the signals were detected as originating,” the military official said.

On Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks in Beijing and pledged to cooperate closely to deal “more effectively” with North Korea, Lee’s office said, as concern grows Pyongyang could stage additional provocations after last month’s rocket launch.

The North’s GPS attacks began after Pyongyang voiced anger at what it called insulting remarks made by South Korean leaders in connection with its failed rocket launch and costly birthday anniversary celebrations for late founding leader Kim Il-sung.

Lee estimated the costs of the rocket launch at US$850 million and said the North could have been better spent the money to feed its hungry people.

North Korea vowed retaliations, threatening last month to launch “special military actions” to reduce the Lee government to ashes in minutes. Seoul officials said the GPS attacks appear to be part of the North’s latest threats.

Pyongyang has been blamed for jamming GPS signals in South Korea since 2010.

GPS is a satellite-based navigation system widely used by aircraft, ships and the military as well as private vehicle owners.

South Korean military fighters, cargo planes and precise guided bombs are not affected by the disruption of GPS signals as they are equipped with military-only satellite navigation systems, officials said.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – North Korea suspected of jamming flight signals in South

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In the News – North Korea suspected of jamming flight signals in South

(Reuters) РMore than 250 flights in and out of South Korea have experienced GPS signal jamming since the weekend, with North Korea high on the list of suspects, officials said on Wednesday.

Similar jamming in the past was traced to the reclusive North, which last month breached U.S. Security Council resolutions with a failed long-range rocket launch and was blamed for cyber attacks on South Korean financial institutions last year.

None of the flights, including 11 operated by foreign airlines, was in danger, the Transport Ministry said, with automatic switching of navigation to alternative systems.

“As it happened at the time of (military) drills in 2010 and 2011, we suspect North Korea was engaged in jamming signals,” a government official said.

Officials at the Korea Communications Commission declined to comment whether North Korea was the source of the signal jamming but said it had been identified as the culprit in at least one similar incident.

A Defence Ministry official declined to comment on the source of the jamming but said the military’s equipment had not been affected.

North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric against the South in recent weeks, hurling personal insults at South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and threatening to reduce the capital Seoul to ashes.

It is expected to conduct a third nuclear test any day, possibly using a uranium device which would infuriate neighbouring countries and the United States which have been involved in talks to try to rein in its nuclear weapons programme.

The threat of cyber war from North Korea is seen in the South, one of the world’s most wired countries, as increasing in sophistication.

News reports said North Korea operates vehicle-mounted jamming devices that can disrupt signals up to 100 km (60 miles) away and is developing systems with further reach.

 

Original article can be found here.