WASHINGTON: US authorities have arrested a former marine in connection with a mysterious February raid on North Korea’s embassy in Spain during which masked assailants roughed-up staff and stole computers, the media reported Saturday.
Citing two sources familiar with the case, the media said federal authorities arrested Christopher Ahn, a former US Marine and member of a group dedicated to the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. A dissident organisation known as the Cheollima Civil Defence (CCD) said it had orchestrated the February 22 embassy raid to highlight illicit activities rampant in North Korea’s foreign missions.
It came just days before a high-stakes nuclear summit in Vietnam between Kim and US President Donald Trump that ultimately failed to reach an accord. Media said federal agents had also searched the apartment of Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican national who Spanish authorities said last month had led the embassy raid. An FBI spokesman referred questions on the case to the Justice Department, who declined to comment.
The CCD, a dissident group believed to include high-profile North Korean defectors, said after the raid it had “shared certain information of enormous potential value with the FBI in the United States”. North Korea described the incident as a “grave terrorist attack” and urged an investigation into the perpetrators.
Media quoted Hong’s lawyer, Lee Wolosky, as saying his client was “dismayed that the US Department of Justice has decided to execute warrants against US persons that derive from criminal complaints filed by the North Korean regime”.
The CCD – which offers to assist people attempting to defect from North Korea – emerged in 2017 when it posted an online video of the son of the North Korean leader’s assassinated brother, saying it had guaranteed his safety.