Businessman nabbed for aiding N. Korean restaurant in Southeast Asia

SEOUL, A local businessman has been apprehended for assisting the operation of a North Korean restaurant in a Southeast Asian country and communicating closely with a North Korean spy stationed there, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) said Wednesday.

The 52-year-old businessman, who runs an IT program company in South Korea, is accused of having visited the North Korean restaurant for seven years, beginning in 2016, and maintained close communications with the restaurant's vice president, who belongs to the Reconnaissance General Bureau, Pyongyang's spy agency.

This undated photo provided by the police shows a South Korean businessman buying flowers to deliver to a North Korean restaurant in a Southeast Asian country.

He is also suspected of providing US$4,800, as well as 20.7 million won ($15,338) worth of goods, including clothing, skin care products, food, masks and medicine, to the restaurant while communicating with it by phone and messenger since 2018, the SMPA said, speculating some of the U.S. dollars were sent to Pyongyang.

It also noted the medicine provided by the suspect to the restaurant included prescription and psychotropic drugs.

The SMPA said the businessman was referred to the prosecution without detention last Friday on charges of violating the National Security Act and the narcotics control and pharmaceutical laws.

The suspect reportedly told the police that he provided various conveniences to the North's restaurant because of his romantic relationship with a female employee.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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