A mysterious raid on a North Korean diplomatic compound in Madrid (which serves as its embassy) has been blamed on an equally mysterious Mexican/Korean individual. Spanish authorities are pointing to Adrian Hong Chang as the leader of the raid that took place on February 22. According to El Pais, “The 35-year-old is a US resident with a Mexican passport who ‘owns several dubious companies and is in contact with various intelligence services.’”
Hong Chang is a known critic of Kim Jong Un’s regime who has testified against North Korea in front of the Canadian Senate in 2016. Hong Chang also started a NGO called Liberty in North Korea that has helped North Koreans defect. More recently, Hong Chang identified himself as the president of the Joseon Institute, a thinktank devoted to preparing for a post-Kim North Korea.
In the Feb 22 raid, the perpetrators tied up the occupants of the compound, struck one or more of them, and stole hard drives and documents. A group named Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) took responsibility for the raid. The same group also helped the son of Kim Jong Nam go into hiding after Nam, Un’s older half-brother, was killed by women hired by North Korean agents at the airport in Kuala Lumpur in 2017. After the raid, Hong Chang contacted the FBI and passed over information taken from the diplomatic compound.
Most of his fellow suspects are said to be South Korea. The Spanish authorities have issued international arrest warrants for the suspects.
So why target the North Korean compound in Spain of all places? Could it be a provocation against North Korean government’s most well known foreign employee, the Special Representative of the Foreign Ministry of North Korea, Alejandro Cao de Benós.
As we’ve described in past entries (we’re still in the process of adding our archives to the new site), Alejandro is a Spaniard who used to cosplay with other European weirdos in North Korea military uniforms. He used his IT expertise to build websites for the North Korean foreign ministry and they finally hired him as a plenipotentiary to represent the regime overseas. Alejandro currently lives in Spain and visits North Korea a couple of times a year. Perhaps the Madrid raid was an attempt to embarrass Alejandro or hurt his standing with the Kim regime.