Seoul, South Korea – It might seem like the kind of gadget you’d see in a James Bond movie, but the pen above is just one of the deadly weapons being used by North Korean assassins.
An individual identifying himself as an “investigation official” presented two pens and a flashlight to CNN. While all the items are basically impossible to distinguish from the real thing, all are built to kill.
The first pen, designed to look like a Parker ballpoint pen, contains a poisoned needle. The official said that anybody attacked with this pen would feel only a “slight pin prick.” Within a “short period of time,” the victim would be dead, having first suffered muscle paralysis followed by suffocation.
The second pen shoots a poisoned bullet that can break the skin and release a deadly toxin in the body. The third and final weapon presented to CNN was the flashlight, which can be loaded with up to three more conventional bullets.
This is not all new technology. CNN‘s source revealed the poisoned pens have been used by North Korean assassins for around ten years. Two South Korean activists were assassinated by very similar devices only last year.
The flashlight was identified as a more recent creation by the South Korean official:
“I’ve never seen this weapon. If you look at the front, there are three holes, there was a bullet in each hole and here is the trigger. This is currently loaded and dangerous, two bullets remain.”
Thankfully, the missing third bullet had not found its intended target; instead, it was fired by South Korean investigators who were testing the weapon.
The target for these weapons was anti-North Korea activist Park Sang-hak, who now receives round-the-clock police protection. His would-be assassin, named only as “Ahn,” was arrested last year while on his way to meet Park. “Ahn” had previously contacted Park with an offer to donate money to his anti-North Korea campaigning.
Despite being shown the deadly weapons by CNN, Park says he has not been deterred from his activism. He promises he will continue to send anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border in balloons, a move that has previously drawn threats from North Korea.
Here’s a CNN report into North Korea’s deadly pens: