North Korea called on Spain to conduct a thorough investigation into a raid on its mission in Madrid, which was said to be done by FBI-linked dissidents, now hiding in the US.
Pyongyang asked Spain to investigate the “grave terrorist attack” and “flagrant violation of international law,” state-run KCNA news agency reported. “This kind of act should never be tolerated,” the statement read.
It was the first time North Korean officials have commented on the mysterious break-in at its mission in Madrid on February 22. A group of intruders subdued and tied up the staff before stealing a number of electronic devices and a trove of documents from the building. They also reportedly tried to persuade a North Korean attaché to defect. A video, allegedly filmed during the break-in, shows men taking down portraits of North Korean leaders and smashing them on the ground.
Spanish media say that 10 suspects fled to the US and a court in Madrid issued arrest warrants against them. The leader of the group was named as veteran dissident and anti-Pyongyang activist Adrian Hong Chang, who is a Mexican national and a US citizen. Two of the other suspects were named as US nationals.
An unexpected twist came several weeks later when the Spanish paper El Pais cited court documents and police sources as saying that the suspects tried to obtain information on the North Korean nuclear program and contacted the FBI after arriving in the US.
The details were partially confirmed by dissident group ‘Cheollima Civil Defense / Free Joseon’, which claimed responsibility for the raid. Its members shared “certain information of enormous potential value” with the FBI, on the Bureau’s request, the group claimed on its website.
The US has denied any involvement with the break-in, and the FBI has refused to comment on the incident.