S. Korean spies admit kidnapping ex-president

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–South Korea's spy agency confessed yesterday to the most notorious kidnapping in the country's history, saying that in 1973 it snatched opposition leader and later Nobel laureate Kim Dae-jung in Tokyo.

A fact-finding panel of the National Intelligence Service also said it cannot rule out the possibility former president Park Chung-hee may have directly ordered the kidnapping of Kim, who was Park's main political rival at the time.

"It is judged that there was at least an implicit permission" from Park, the panel said in its report.

The report marked the first time South Korea's government has acknowledged Park's involvement in the kidnapping, although many South Koreans have believed that the military-backed leader, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 18 years after a 1961 coup, was behind it.

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