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″Scores, Perhaps Hundreds” of North Korean Spies in South Korea

September 2, 1996

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A professor accused of spying for North Korea told investigators he was but one of ``scores, perhaps hundreds″ of communist spies in South Korea, an official said today.

Chung Su Il was arrested in July on charges of spying for North Korea for 12 years, posing as a Filipino history professor at Seoul’s Dankook University.

He is being held until trial and faces a death sentence.

Chung, 62, told investigators he used to receive coded shortwave radio messages sent by North Korea, a prosecution official said on condition of anonymity.

``From the number of different messages sent in a night, there must be scores, perhaps hundreds of North Korean spies operating (in South Korea),″ the official quoted Chung as saying.

Chung, who called himself Mohamad Ali Kanso, was caught July 3 while sending a fax to North Korea from a Seoul hotel, authorities said.

His reports covered South Korean and U.S. policies on the communist state and South Korea’s latest arms procurement programs, officials said.

South Korea has described his case as the first in which a North Korean spy has disguised himself as a foreigner for such a long time.

North and South Korea fought a bloody war in the early 1950s and remain technically at war.

Government officials said Chung came to South Korea in 1984 after convincing authorities he was a Filipino. He once worked as an interpreter for the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, they said.

In a videotaped confession in July, Chung said he was an ethnic Korean born in China and graduated from Beijing University, majoring in Arabic.

He worked at the Chinese Embassy in Morocco from 1958 to 1963, but grew unhappy with what he called Beijing’s discrimination against Koreans and emigrated to North Korea in 1964.