South Koreans arrested for North Korea facial recognition software

By On September 05, 2018

South Koreans arrested for North Korea facial recognition software

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- South Korean businessmen who allegedly imported North Korea facial recognition software in return for sharing South Korea military secrets have been detained and are to undergo trial, according to South Korean press reports.

The defendants, identified by their surnames Kim and Lee, were arrested on charges of violating the South's National Security Law, Yonhap reported.

Prosecutors at Seoul Central District Court disclosed the arrests on Wednesday.

Seoul's policy bans almost all dealings with North Korea state-sanctioned entities for South Korean citizens, if exchange takes place without official government consent.

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Kim is the chief executive of the firm that retains offices in Beijing and in South Korea's Gyeonggi Province. Lee is his vice president, according to reports .

The defendants began to cultivate their North Korean contacts in 2007, when they connected with a "North Korea information technology organization" and eventually agreed to receive the North Korean firm's facial recognition software through illegal transactions.

In South Korea, Kim and Lee sold the software as if they had developed it themselves, and handed over nearly $450,000 in development fees to North Korea. Other forms of payment included "leaked military secrets," according to Yonhap.

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Kim is reportedly a former member of a radical student group.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police had been monitoring Kim for a "lengthy period" before he was arrested on Aug. 9 then detained on charges of providing financial support that violated national security.

South Korean television network MBC reported Wednesday that Kim's attorney said his client was ar rested based on forged evidence, and is calling for his release.

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