The true story of Kim Soo Im, a passionate Korean 'spy'

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For decades she has swum in the public memory as the irresistible Mata Hari of Korea — a dastardly seductress who played both sides, charming military secrets out of an American colonel and feeding them to her lover in the communist North.

In 1950, three days after conflict broke out on the Korean peninsula, Kim Soo Im was executed by the Seoul regime: a mysteriously hasty killing, the real motive of which was lost as the country descended into the bloody chaos of war.

Nearly 60 years later, the official story surrounding one of Korea's most infamous women agents has been exposed as a farrago of lies and cover-ups. The truth — and a very different Kim — have now emerged from declassified US National Archives.

Executed at the age of 39, she was not, as the South Koreans dubbed her, a “malicious international spy” or a pawn in the Soviet Union's so-called Operation Sex, but the victim of crude fabrication by a paranoid South Korean Government and a cover-up by the Americans.

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