Prosecution Launches Probe into Defection of N. Korean Restaurant Staff

Write : 2018-05-15 15:51:33 Update : 2018-05-15 15:51:51

Prosecution Launches Probe into Defection of N. Korean Restaurant Staff

The prosecution has opened an investigation into allegations that the country's spy agency orchestrated a mass defection of North Korean restaurant workers ahead of the 20th general elections in 2016.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said on Tuesday it launched a probe into the allegations a day after the liberal Lawyers for a Democratic Society filed a complaint against former National Intelligence Service Director Lee Byung-ho and former Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo. 

The lawyers' group accused the top officials who had served under the previous Park Geun-hye administration and other officials who had worked at the spy agency at that time of orchestrating the defection of 12 North Koreans who worked at a North Korean restaurant in China. The Park administration had said the North Koreans had come of their own free will. 

Following news of the defection, there were rumors that it was engineered by Seoul to work in favor of the then-ruling Saenuri Party in the general elections. 

Such rumors surfaced again last week when a cable TV network aired an interview with the restaurant manager, who said that he had been ordered by Seoul's spy agency to threaten his employees to defect with him.

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