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Spy agency raids arts company over alleged security law breach


SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- The state intelligence agency raided the office of a progressive performing arts company Tuesday as part of its ongoing investigation into allegations that some of its members carried out activities in breach of the country's security law, the agency said.

A group of agents of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) swooped down on the office of "Chool" located in central Seoul, and the houses of three members, the NIS said.

"They are under investigation on suspicions of engaging in activities after being approached by agents of the United Front Department and Office 225 under North Korea's ruling Workers' Party of Korea," said an NIS official, without giving further details on the alleged activities.

South Korea's National Security Law prohibits its citizens from contacting North Koreans without government approval and engaging in activities benefiting the North.

The NIS said that the three members, including the company's head Jeon Sik-reol, are also members of the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party. The party was embroiled in a high-profile scandal after some of its members were charged with plotting to overthrow the South Korean government in the event of an inter-Korean war.

Chool, founded in 1999, is an eight-member performing arts company that holds traditional dance performances and often participates in rallies held by progressive and labor civic groups.

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