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July 25, 2017

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Seoul charges N. Korean for spying

SEOUL -- South Korean prosecutors said Tuesday they have filed formal spying charges against a North Korean man involved in a bid to maim the eldest son of the North's late leader Kim Jong Il.

The prosecution service said the unidentified man had arrived in South Korea in March posing as a refugee who had fled the communist North via China.

The man then 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, he said.

"He has disclosed his failed plot to stage an attack on Kim Jong Nam," a prosecution service official told AFP.

Kim Jong Nam fell out of favor 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 the Chinese territory of Macau.

Last year he told a Japanese newspaper that he opposed the idea of the North's dynastic power transfer.

The indicted spy said that 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, according to a prosecution service official.

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 official said.

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