South Korean prosecutors have filed formal spying charges against a North Korean man involved in a bid to maim the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, a report said on Tuesday.
A prosecution service official confirmed the spying charges against the unidentified man, saying he had arrived in South Korea in March posing as a refugee who had fled the North via China.
But the official declined to comment on a Yonhap news agency report that the man had confessed to being part of a plot to stage a hit-and-run car accident in China in 2010 targeting Kim’s eldest son, Kim Jong-nam.
Kim Jong-nam fell out of favour with his father following a botched attempt in 2001 to secretly enter Japan using a fake passport and visit Disneyland.
He has since lived in virtual exile, mainly in Macau.
Last year he told a Japanese newspaper that he opposed the idea of the North’s dynastic power transfer.
According to prosecution sources cited by Yonhap, the indicted spy said he had spent 10 years as an undercover agent in China and was assigned to injure Kim Jong-nam and possibly bring him back to Pyongyang.
At one point, he hired a taxi driver to carry out a hit-and-run, but the plot failed as Kim was away on an extended overseas visit, the sources said.