Prosecutors have arrested a South Korean intelligence agent on charges of forging documents in a scandal underlining the need to reform the country's spy agency.
This is the first time an agent from the National Intelligence Service has been detained in connection with the agency's spying activities.
The Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for the agent, identified only by his surname Kim, for ordering an informant last December to obtain documents that refute claims made by the Chinese police.
The documents show a former Seoul city government worker accused of being a North Korean spy entered the reclusive nation, but China's security forces had previously denied issuing China-North Korea border crossing records for him.
Kim denies he knew about the forgery, while the informant, who had tried to commit suicide earlier this month, claims he was paid and ordered by Korea's state intelligence agency to counterfeit the papers.
Prosecutors are also probing a consul at the Korean consulate general in China's northeastern Shenyang city who handed over the forged papers.
The consul has told investigators that he did not know anything about the authenticity of the papers.
The investigation has now expanded to China, where a team from Korea and the Chinese security ministry plan to determine the authenticity of the documents in question.
The latest scandal has severely hurt the credibility of Korea's spy agency, which had been at the center of a political scandal for allegedly interfering in the 2012 presidential election to rally support behind the ruling party candidate.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.