South Korean Spy Steals Russian Missiles – Report
By Kirill OdintsovThe achievements of the Republic of Korea in the field of rockets and space are largely based on Russian technologies, including stolen ones. This conclusion is evident from sensational confessions of a South Korean businessman to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
“On the instructions of the intelligence service, I managed to bring back from Russia several intercontinental ballistic rockets and five engines passing them off as scrap metal. I managed to take them to South Korea and send them to secret service officers. I was awarded, but soon the authorities of my country abandoned me. I don’t know what to do now. I am not allowed entry back into Russia where I had several companies,” these sensational confessions of a South Korean businessman, who used to work in the Russian Federation for a long time, were published in the open press.
The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, which has published this story, has declared that its truthfulness was confirmed by representatives of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), who noted, however, that the rockets “were nothing more than scrap metal”. Russian journalists managed to find out that the Russian law enforcement bodies knew this story and confirmed it, noting that it was not the first case when some representatives of “peaceful occupations” from South Korea carried out “delicate orders” of the South Korean intelligence services.
As far as the South Korean businessman whom Chosun Ilbo identified only with the first letter of his name – “K” – is concerned, he started his business in Russia back in 1996. His company was based in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and specialized in exporting scrap metal to South Korea. In 1997, K. received from the Russian Ministry of Defense permission to use Russian Intercontinental ballistic rockets, which were located in Kamchatka and fell under the agreement with the USA on the reduction of strategic offensive arms. And it was then that the espionage detective story started.
The South Korean intelligence found out about the project and became very interested in it. Representatives of the Agency for National Security Planning or ANSP (then the name of the NIS) met with K. and asked him to bring a rocket with minimal damage. Usually, missiles were cut into small parts in the presence of a representative of the United States. But according to K.’s confession, he made friends with the commander of the base and a few officers of the Russian military counterespionage, who shut their eyes to the activities of the adventurous Korean for 700 thousand dollars. As a result, in 1998, K. managed to take from the base and bring to Korea large parts of the body of a rocket and its engines, passing them off as scrap metal, and then he returned to his homeland. According to K., the “top authorities” received the report about the successful operation, and on March 13, 1999, the businessman-spy received a medal “For a special contribution in ensuring the national security of the country” and a 10-thousand-dollar bonus given to him personally from the Director of the South Korean Intelligence.
On the instructions of the intelligence service, K. carried out similar operations two more times – in December 2000 and November 2001. He took three more rocket engines from Russia, new parts of rockets and a number of component parts for them.
“As far as I know, later the rocket was assembled, studied, and the received information was used for the creation of a Korean satellite,” K. says. The NIS asked K. to steal other samples of strategic weapons from Russia, but fearing for his security, he refused. He switched over to a legal tourist business with Russia, but in 2007 he was denied entry to Russia. As his friends among the Russian military men informed him, it was connected with the suspicion of him being involved in espionage activities. Chosun Ilbo believes that K. just fell on a wrong moment, because another spy scandal sprang up between Russia and South Korea at that time. K. has got 20 million dollars worth of assets in Russia, which is why the ban on entering the country was a catastrophe for him. He appealed for help to the NIS and South Korean Foreign Ministry, but they did not help him.
In the end, K. decided to seek the assistance of the press, and so he told this story.