North Korean spy used 'sex as a tool'

A North Korean woman accused of using sex to elicit sensitive information from a South Korean military officer was sentenced Wednesday by a court in the South to five years in prison for spying.

Won Jeong Hwa, 34, was arrested in July on charges of passing classified information to the North, including the locations of key military installations, lists of North Korean defectors and personal information on South Korean military officers.

Prosecutors alleged Won used "sex as a tool" for her mission, dating a South Korean army officer and making him work for her. Investigators also have said she plotted to assassinate South Korean intelligence agents with poison needles, but did not carry out the plan.

On Wednesday, the Suwon District Court, south of Seoul, found Won guilty of all charges and accepted a prosecutors' demand that she be sentenced to five years in prison, said Judge Lim Min-sung, who serves as a court spokesman.

"The defendant approached soldiers and intelligence agents through the medium of sex and carried out secret espionage activities for a long time using her (purported) status as a defector," the court said in the ruling, according to Lim.

In issuing its sentence the court also took into consideration that the information she sent to the North did not pose serious threats to the country's security and that she has repented and cooperated with the investigation, Lim said.

In an earlier hearing, Won submitted a written statement to the court, admitting to the charges against her and offering repentance for her past activities as a spy.

Spying for North Korea is a crime in South Korea that carries the death penalty as a maximum sentence.

Won is the second North Korean convicted on spy charges in South Korea in a decade.

She entered the South in 2001 after marrying a South Korean businessman in China, falsely reporting to authorities that she was a defector from the North.

The movie-like details in the charges against Won have drawn keen media attention, with some newspapers calling her Korea's version of "Mata Hari," the notorious dancer-turned-World War I spy.

The case has further frayed South Korea's already troubled relations with the North, as the communist nation protested angrily that Seoul has fabricated the case to sully Pyongyang's image.

The two sides fought the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula technically still at war.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Recruitment Genius: Service Manager

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 50 years'...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor