Won Jeong Hwa, the recently released first female North Korean spy to be arrested and tried in South Korea, has been interviewed by South Korea’s “Channel-A,” a conservative cable TV provider owned by the conservative Dong-A group.
Now 40 years old, Won was arrested for espionage in 2008 and released in July this year after serving five years in prison. Originating from North Hamkyung Province, she worked in China earning foreign currency and participating in intelligence operations until dispatched to South Korea in 2001.
Speaking about her espionage actions, Won revealed that she deliberately initiated a relationship with a South Korean man in China in order to become pregnant, believing that her passage to the South would be easier as a result. Thereafter, while in South Korea, she came under suspicion after forming relationships with a number of military officers, and was eventually arrested in 2008 following a three-year investigation.
The former spy denied press reports at the time that she had been in a sexual relationship with the officers, claiming instead that they were working relationships. One of the officers was arrested for failing to report her to the authorities.
Upon the original news of her arrest, Rodong Sinmun, the publication of North Korea’s ruling Chosun Workers’ Party, published an editorial denouncing her as a “traitor of the country and people” and “human garbage covetous of money and riches; an irrecoverable fraudster.” The North also accused the South Korean government of fabricating the case, saying that “such lies linking the Chosun National Security Agency with her is an insult to our country’s dignity and government.”
Won has lived under police protection in South Korea since her release from prison. The child she gave birth to in South Korea is reportedly in state care.
Elsewhere, although she worked on the behalf of the North Korean state for many years, Won expressed surprise at the actions of left wing Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok Ki, who is currently on trial at Suwon District Court charged with conspiracy to commit a rebellion, the first such case in more than 30 years.
“I have no idea how a National Assemblyman could deceive the South Korean people and conspire behind their backs.” she commented.
Daily North Korea