1 Jun 2012

NZ citizen arrested in South Korea on spy charges

10:33 pm on 1 June 2012

A New Zealand citizen arrested in South Korea is accused of supplying advance defence technology for North Korea.

The 56-year-old Korean-born man, identified as Kim, was arrested with another businessman, identified as Lee, aged 74.

The pair are accused of meeting with a North Korean intelligence officer in China in July last year, where they were given orders to gather technology such as global positioning signal jammers for the North.

It is illegal in South Korea to supply such technology to North Korea.

Police say Mr Lee has previously been imprisoned in South Korea for spying for North Korea.

Mr Kim is understood to have moved to New Zealand in 2000 where he established a business trading with North Korea.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the New Zealand embassy in Seoul is aware of the arrest and consular assistance has been offered.