Russia arrests Korean man on espionage charges

A South Korean national has been arrested and will face charges of cyber espionage in Moscow, local Russian media reports.

Baek Won-soon, 53, was arrested in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East earlier this year. He was transferred to Moscow last month to stand trial, according to TASS news agency quotes from police sources.

“While probing into the case of Baek Won-soon, investigators established that he told his interlocutor that he was a writer and received information constituting state secrets through one of the [online] messenger services,” the source is quoted by TASS as saying. “He was supposed to pass the information on to foreign intelligence services.”

However, the source did not further clarify either what information was allegedly stolen or what foreign intelligence agency Won-soon is accused of working for.

Media reports out of Russia have become increasingly difficult to verify since the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022 and the Kremlin’s clampdown on dissenting voices within the Federation.

Materials pertaining to Won-soon’s case have been classified as “top secret” by Russian authorities. TASS reports him as having no previous criminal convictions, but a court in Moscow has extended his period of detention at the Lefortovo facility in the capital until June 15th.

It is not known when Won-soon will be tried. South Korean media report that his wife was detained alongside him but released without charge and allowed to return to her native country.

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