South Korean prosecutors open rare probe into North Korea's Kim Jong-un’s sister

WION Web Team
Seoul Published: Jul 17, 2020, 12:42 PM(IST)

Kim Yo Jong Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

North Korea has repeatedly condemned South Korea in recent months, including directing personal insults at President Moon Jae-in. This move is likely to infuriate the nuclear-armed North.

South Korean prosecutors have opened rare probe into North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister over Pyongyang's blowing up of a liaison office last month, officials said.

North Korea has repeatedly condemned South Korea in recent months, including directing personal insults at President Moon Jae-in. This move is likely to infuriate the nuclear-armed North.

As per reports, the investigation into Kim Yo Jong was initiated after a Seoul based lawyer decided to file a criminal complaint against Kim Jong Un's sister with the prosecutors at the Seoul Central District.

Last month, Pyongyang blew up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border, days after Kim Yo Jong -- one of her brother's closest advisers -- had said the "useless" property would soon be seen "completely collapsed".

Before the demolition, it had issued a series of vitriolic condemnations of South Korea over anti-North leaflets that defectors send back across the heavily-militarised border -- usually attached to balloons or floated in bottles.

It raised pressure further by threatening military measures against Seoul, but later said it had suspended those plans in an apparent sudden dialling-down of tensions.

In his complaint, lawyer Lee Kyung-jae claimed the now-demolished liaison office was South Korean property as it was renovated using South Korean government funds, despite its being located in the North.

Kim "used explosives to destroy" the South's "quasi-diplomatic mission building that served the public interest", he said in the complaint.

Lee also filed a complaint against Pak Jong Chon, chief of the general staff of the North Korean military.

Under South Korea's criminal code, he stressed, damaging property or disturbing the peace using explosives was punishable by death, or a prison sentence of at least seven years.

Capital punishment remains on the statute books in South Korea, although it has not executed anyone since 1997.

In practice, it would be virtually impossible for Seoul officials to punish Kim Yo Jong or Pak, but Lee told the South's Yonhap News Agency that he wanted to "inform the North Korean people of their leader's hypocrisy".

(With inputs from AFP)

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