Assassination attempt against North Korean defector and activist Park Sang-hak

The Washington Post – along with a great many other newspapers – reports that a North Korean defector, identified only as Ahn, was recently arrested for an assassination attempt on Park Sang-hak.  According to WP:

Ahn’s arrest comes as North Korea harshly criticizes activists like Park, threatening to fire artillery shells at them for sending leaflets critical of Pyongyang across the heavily armed border between the countries.

Park said Ahn tried to arrange a meeting earlier this month. Ahn was arrested shortly afterward. Park said South Korean authorities told him that Ahn planned to either poison his drink or jab him with a poison needle.

Park is head of Fighters for Free North Korea, an activist group that routinely flies balloons containing leaflets, DVDs, radios and U.S. dollar bills to the North. The group has recently focused its message on a hereditary power succession under way in North Korea.

Park said Ahn once served in North Korea’s special forces, citing a conversation they had several years ago. Officials said Ahn is in his 40s.

If charged under the South’s National Security Law, Ahn could face the death penalty.

The New York Times added some additional details:

Mr. Park told reporters that after several years of staying out of contact, Mr. Ahn approached him again in early September proposing to arrange a meeting with a Japanese man willing to support Mr. Park’s anti-Pyongyang campaign. He said that spy agents alerted him and intercepted Mr. Ahn at a subway station where they were supposed to meet.

The recent assassination attempt may only be the tip of the iceberg.  As reported by the Korea Herald:

The arrest came less than two weeks after a South Korean missionary died in the Chinese border city of Dandong just across from North Korea after suddenly collapsing in the street.

Some South Koreans claimed that the missionary was poisoned to death by a North Korean agent, though an autopsy found no poison in his body.

The AFP also adds:

Another South Korean activist elsewhere in northeast China said he himself was stabbed with a poison-tipped needle in a separate non-fatal incident.

The two incidents are better described in this article – which is worth a read.

  • doctoroh

    The assasination plans on Park were probably as presented in the papers. The missionary suddenly expiring on the streets of Dandong as a result of being pricked by poison is less a possibility, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Regardless, until evidence appears , it must be accepted as a natural death. The damn thing about conspiracy theories is that a few of them actually grounded on strong evidence. The Gleiwitz Incident along Germany’s border with Poland is a case in point, which along with several other border incidents were fabricated by the Nazis and used as a pretext for the Blitzkrieg. Drawing false conclusions based in questionable evidence is never a good thing.

  • Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    Park knew that Ahn once served in North Korea’s special forces, yet arranged to meet him at a subway station.

    His life was only saved due to “South Koreas spy agency” (NIS).

    Park, should use his brains next time.

    everyone (with a brain) knows North Korea sends agents over disguised as “refugees”, to perform missions.

    I just hope South Korean has it all covered.

    As for Ahn getting the death penalty – I don’t think so. The south will ply him with soju and get all the info out of him, then reward him with a nice apartment and a monthly allowance and state protection.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    Are you insinuating that South Korea’s making things up in order to invade North Korea? South Korea would have been within its rights to declare war against North Korea several times over.


    How do you think the spy agency got word of the meeting? My guess is that Park gets in touch with them whenever he feels something might not be right.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Does anyone know of a mailing address to which one can make a donation to Mr Park’s organisation?

  • Benjamin Wagner

    Is it me or is 2011 turning out to be a boon year for spy-hunting? The wangjaesan ring in August, now this assassin. At the same time I’ve notice that the familiar ‘111: spot & report a nork spy’ posters on public transport have all but disappeared.

  • R. Elgin

    Benjamin the rewards for reporting North Korean spies has been increased as of this year. Also, I seem to recall something about a South Korean consul in Russian Far East, killed with poison after reportedly helping North Korean refugees back in 1996. This sort of thing is not far-fetched at all and is about the same as being shot in the back.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    2012, the year North Koreans were promised by their government everything but the moon, is only a few months away. I don’t foresee North Korea emerging from mediocrity in the near future, and I believe that the increase in spy activity is a sign that the North Korean government is beginning to share my view on the matter. An assassination plot against Mr. Park is a strong indicator of this. The North Korean government wouldn’t fear him and his group if they were confident that they could deliver what their propagandists had promised.

  • doctoroh

    #2 Not in the case of the Ahn – Park incident. Regarding the incident of the missionary, I would not decribe it as ‘making things up,’ but would urge the reporting to emphasize that the jury is still out on the case. The region does not need inflammatory reporting, especially when so many proven incidents already exist.

  • Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    Regarding the incident of the missionary, I would not decribe it as ‘making things up,’ but would urge the reporting to emphasize that the jury is still out on the case. The region does not need inflammatory reporting, especially when so many proven incidents already exist.

    don’t have a clue what you are talking about. missionary? ‘making things up,’? you’ve lost me… what are you taking?

  • Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    Oh! You probably meant #1 (not #2 – me)

    still I want whatever your taking…

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