Report: South Korea union official charged with sending photos from U.S. bases to North Korea

by WorldTribune Staff, March 30, 2023

A top official at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) in South Korea has been arrested after being accused of photographing U.S. military facilities in South Korea and sending the photos to operatives in North Korea.

The KCTU official was accused of taking photographs at Camp Humphreys, a key U.S. Forces Korea base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, and sending them to North Korea. / Yonhap

The director, identified in reports only as Mr. A, was arrested on March 27 for violating the South’s National Security Law, the Dong-A Ilbo reported on March 29.

The KCTU official allegedly entered U.S. military bases in Pyeongtaek and Osan in Gyeonggi Province in 2021, toured the facilities, took photographs, and forwarded the photos to North Korea.

Mr. A is accused of taking photographs of facilities and weapons at the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) base (Camp Humphreys) in Pyeongtaek, around February 2021.

Around the same time, Mr. A is alleged to have toured and photographed Osan Air Base, which is jointly operated by South Korea and the United States.

“Public security authorities, including the National Intelligence Service and the police, believe he took close-up shots of not only the exterior of military facilities but also key facilities and equipment such as runways, hangars, and Patriot missile batteries,” the Dong-A Ilbo report said.

According to authorities, Mr. A then transmitted the photographs to an operative of the Cultural Exchange Bureau (formerly Bureau 225), North Korea’s agency for conducting operations against South Korea.

“It is said that the photos were sent mainly through the ‘Cyber Dvock’ method, which shared foreign email IDs and accounts,” the report said.

Authorities assess that Mr. A took photographs of the USFK bases and sent them to North Korea on North Korea’s orders.

The fact that he received an order from a North Korean agent in early 2019 to “collect data on national security facilities in the southern part of Gyeonggi” has already been confirmed through search and seizures by the authorities.

Mr. A also received orders from North Korea to “collect relevant secret data, such as the Blue House, the military bases near Pyongtaek, thermal power plants, and LNG storage facilities to prepared for a contingency.”

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