2 S.Korean detainees sentenced to life imprisonment in DPRK

(Xinhua)      Updated : 2015-06-23

PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has sentenced two detained South Koreans to life imprisonment, the state-run Korean Central Television reported on Tuesday.

Pyongyang claims Kim Guk-gi and Choe Chun-gil are spies sent by South Korea's National Intelligence Service into the DPRK to pry into the country's state and military secrets.

The report said the country's supreme court has declared Kim and Choe guilty of anti-DPRK espionage activities under the manipulation of the U.S. and South Korean authorities.

They were sentenced to lifetime compulsory labor, it added.

The court charged Kim and Choe with four crimes including subversion of the state, espionage, destruction and illegal entry and exit.

They had confessed to the crimes that were part of state-sponsored political terrorism and anti-DPRK hostilities conducted by the United States and South Korea, according to the report.

On March 26, the DPRK held a press conference open to both foreign and domestic journalists, at which it announced the arrest and detainment of Kim and Choe, who were allegedly instigated by Seoul and Washington to steal secrets of the country and the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, including some confidential information linking to the health conditions and personal habits of the DPRK top leadership.

Pyongyang said the suspects even attempted to acquire the arrival and departure time of the special train taken by late leader Kim Jong Il when he visited neighboring countries, which possibly aimed for an assassination.

They were also accused of circulating counterfeit DPRK currency, South Korean movies and anti-Pyongyang publications within the DPRK territory in an attempt to disrupt the country's economic order and to undermine its social stability, a spokesman for DPRK Department of State Security told the press conference.

The spokesman strongly blasted the espionage targeting the DPRK by South Korea and the United States, saying it was a terrorist move that violated international law, which was aimed at stifling the country.

Pyongyang said the two spies were captured respectively in September and December last year.

However, after the news briefing, the DPRK side did not report any updates of the detainees or reveal the trial date.