Police raided the office of a Protestant church group and homes of two pastors affiliated with it on Friday as part of an investigation into suspicions that they contacted a North Korean spy to help a defector return to the communist state, the group said.
Rev. Choi Jae-bong and Kim Sung-yoon are key members of the Seoul-based Protestant ministers’ group suspected of working on defector Kim Lyun-hee’s repatriation to the North. The defector has been claiming that she came to the South against her will, fooled by a broker.
“The police have charged the ministers with breaching the National Security Law, saying they had contact with a North Korean agent,” the group said in a news conference, criticizing it as an act of suppressing religious activities.
The law prohibits South Korean citizens from contacting North Koreans without government approval and engaging in activities benefiting the North.
The National Police Agency confirmed the raid, saying, “We are searching minister Choi’s house and the group’s office on suspicions of meeting with members of an anti-government organization, in violation of the National Security Law.”
The authorities, however, declined to give further details.