Video: American Detainee in North Korea Admits to Spying
An American detained in North Korea has admitted to conducting espionage acts.
Kim Tong Chol was presented to the media on March 25 as a detainee after being arrested on October of last year.
The announcement comes days after North Korea sentenced U.S. student Otto Frederick Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.
Kim, who was born in South Korea and then became a naturalized American citizen, told CNN that he lived in Fairfax, Virginia and then moved near the Chinese-North Korean border in 2011.
He told a press conference in Pyongyang that he had worked with and spied for South Korean intelligence officials.
“The really serious crime that I committed is that I carried out a plan against this country.”
He said they were plotting to bring down North Korea’s leadership and that they were also trying to spread religious ideas among North Koreans.
“By donating money and goods, I was trying to make the people here believe a fantasy about religion and the western world in order to wipe out their ideology of worshipping their leader,” said Kim.
He said his actions against North Korea were “shameful and ineffaceable.”
Kim apologized for his alleged crime and pleaded North Korean authorities to show him mercy by forgiving him.
“I would like to send a message to my family, which I love,” he said in tears.
According to previous detainees that have been released, North Korean officials usually parade American or other foreign captives in press conferences, where they are coerced to “admit to their crimes” and commend the country’s political system.
According to North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, Kim was approached by South Korean intelligence authorities in 2011 to participate in paid espionage.
KCNA said Kim was apprehended when he was receiving a memory stick that contained military and nuclear secrets from a source.
However, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said Kim’s case was not linked to the organization in any way.
According to Chinese state media Xinhua, Kim said, “You could say that my anti-North Korean behavior was also instigated by the United States.”
In January, Kim told CNN that he had not worked for the United States during any of his spying acts, and that he made repeated visits to the North Korean special economic zone of Rason, where he was caught.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.