Border cams to spy on spies in Korea's mine-infested DMZ
World Tribune | February 22, 2005
SEOUL – The 155-mile-long Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea may not bear any resemblance to U.S. shopping malls or traffic intersections, but it's about to acquire some devices that privacy advocates love to hate.
Surveillance cameras — the kind you see in banks, lobbies and highways across the United States — will go up at strategic intervals along the length of the DMZ, at least on the South Korean side.
N. Korean army officers look through binoculars at South Korean soldiers across the border at the truce village of Panmunjom along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Why erect border cams on the most God-forsaken, mine-infested strip of real estate on earth?
The South's Ministry of National Defense announced plans to build a full-fledged surveillance system after discovering in October that an infiltrator had slashed the barbed-wire fence on the South Korean side of the zone.
The fear initially was that a North Korean spy had made his way to the South, but some intelligence analysts concluded that the breach in the barrier was the handiwork of one or more North Korean agents returning to the North.
In addition to capturing people on videotape, the system also includes sirens and alarm bells should infiltrators from the North, defectors or anyone else try to make the journey across the 2.5-mile wide DMZ.
Would-be infiltrators and defectors still have time, however, to find holes in the surveillance system. It won't be completely in place for another six years.
One problem, beside expense, is that it's necessary first to remove some of the mines and other obstacles that make movement difficult on the southern side of the zone, formally set up in July 1953 under terms of the armistice that ended the Korean War.