This adds to the staggering $1.5 billion in virtual assets North Korea has allegedly stolen since 2015.
The NIS believes that information from 1,000 domestic credit card accounts was stolen and, according to Rep. Yoo Sang-beom, the agency “quickly took security measures.”
The news comes as Russian officials, including Defense Minister Shoigu, court North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“The NIS is judging that the two sides agreed on a broader plan for military cooperation through this,” stated Rep. Yoo.
Additionally, the NIS has identified an increase in smuggling activities by North Korea, with drug smuggling tripling in the first half of this year compared to the same period in the previous year.
Gold bar volumes also saw a 50% increase.
The intelligence agency also highlighted the economic challenges faced by North Korea, with a decline in its GDP by 12% in 2022 compared to 2016.
This economic downturn has led to skyrocketing grain prices and a reported 240 cases of starvation from January to July.
Despite North Korea’s declaration of a “war on crime” earlier this year, the NIS believes there has been little impact. The agency also expressed concerns about the potential transfer of Russia’s core nuclear and missile technology to North Korea.
In response to the increasing complaints from residents, North Korea has established a task force to identify dissatisfied individuals.
The NIS has been closely monitoring these developments, along with the potential military cooperation between North Korea and Russia.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been actively collaborating with the NIS to identify and address these concerns.
Ho Hern Shin, a deputy managing director of the MAS, emphasized the need for strengthened defenses against transnational money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
The recent intelligence committee meeting ended with a call for transparency and accountability.
Rep. Yoon Geon-Yeong urged for a more open approach, suggesting that some sessions be made public. However, Rep. Yoo argued against such disclosures, citing international norms.
The intelligence committee meeting concluded with NIS director Kim expressing regret over any discomfort caused during the previous session.
The committee also discussed potential amendments to the National Intelligence Service Act.
Produced in association with Benzinga