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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker