Ex. S. Korean Spy Gets Asylum

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WASHINGTON -- A U.S. court has upheld a 2008 ruling to grant political asylum to a former South Korean intelligence agent who claims to face threats from both South and North Korea, sources here said Tuesday.

Kim Ki-sam, who left South Korea's state spy agency in 2000, applied for asylum in the U.S. in 2003, saying he would face persecution and prosecution if he was forced to return to South Korea because he had revealed information about secret operations to help then-President Kim Dae-jung win the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of those operations was the transfer of a $500 million "bribe" to North Korea that led to a historic inter-Korean summit, Kim said.
He claimed that he was facing threats from North Korea as well.

The immigration court in Pennsylvania approved his asylum bid in 2008 but prosecutors lodged an appeal.

An appellate court in Philadelphia, however, confirmed the previous ruling late last month, the sources said.

Kim, 49, resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and has passed the bar exam in New York State, according to the sources.