South Korean spy 'kills himself' in the wake of phone hacking scandal

An employee of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service spying agency was found dead in his car after apparently taking his own life

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An employee of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service spying agency has reportedly killed himself in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal in the country. 

The agent, who has only been identified by his last name Lim, was found dead in his car on a mountain road near Seoul after apparently taking his own life, police told the BBC.

A suicide note left by the man admits that he had deleted important information about the hacking scandal.

The scandal has emerged after mobile phones were found to have been tracked and monitored just before the South Korean presidential election in 2012.

Claims that the spyware, which have allegedly been bought from an Italian company called Hacking Team, were being used to monitor South Koreans have been denied by the government and NIS officials, who have said that the purpose of the technology was to increase the country’s cyber-warfare capabilities against North Korea.

Hacking Team was hacked itself earlier this month, when large amounts of emails and internal company data were leaked online, according to the New York Times.

Data revealed that one of the company clients was “South Korean Army Unit 5163,” which is believed to be one of the cover addresses for the NIS

According to the BBC, the note left by the dead spy implies that phones were monitored only to examine people connected to North Korea and not to defile figures running against the country’s centre-right president, Park Geun-hye.

Authorities have yet to confirm whether the spy killed himself in connection with the scandal.

The South Korean spy agency had a murky reputation before the country became a democracy in the 1980s and was believed to be involved in abductions and killings.

The modern NIS has not be accused of any offences of this nature but has been involved in several scandals, such as that involving former NIS head Won Sei-hood, who was given a retrial on Thursday in the Supreme Court after being sentenced to three years in jail in February for trying to influence the results of the 2012 presidential election.