A shadowy dissident group allegedly behind last month’s raid on North Korea’s embassy in Madrid promised “bigger things ahead” on Thursday, but said they would temporarily suspend operations because of intense media scrutiny.
The Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) group emerged from the shadows this week to claim responsibility for a commando-style raid on Pyongyang’s embassy to highlight illicit activities rampant in North Korea’s foreign missions.
On Wednesday a Spanish court named Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican national, as being the leader of the group which burst into the diplomatic mission and roughed up employees before fleeing with documents and computers.
“We are a group of defectors who have come together with compatriots around the world,” the CCD said in a statement posted on its website.
Various preparations to “shake the Kim Jong Un regime by the root” were underway, it added, but had been hampered by a spike in media interest.
“The activities of the members have been temporarily suspended,” it said, adding: “The media should refrain from sticking their nose in the nature of our group and our members. We have bigger things ahead of us.”
The statement did not offer any clues about where the group was located, but said it was not collaborating with defectors in South Korea due to “strict security reasons”.
Thursday’s statement was the first time the CCD had offered information on its membership since it emerged in 2017, when it posted an online video of the son of the North Korean leader’s assassinated brother, saying it had guaranteed his safety.
Little else is known about the CCD and it is unclear who is behind the organisation — although some have speculated it has links to South Korea’s spy agency.
It is named after a mythical winged horse.
Last month the group declared itself a government-in-exile for the North called “Free Joseon”, using an old name for Korea.
In the past, the group has said it responded to requests for protection from “compatriots” and thanked countries including the Netherlands, China and the United States for their help.
It has also said it was “not seeking anything in return” and that it has “already given help” to North Koreans.