North Korean Submarine
Target Cue: NBVB-YGTC
Tertiary: Kangnung City, South Korea
Timline: 18 December 2002
This is a photograph of a North Korean "Sang-o" class infiltration submarine on display at a South Korean naval exhibition site just south of Kangnung City - which is on the east coast of the peninsula (East Sea/Sea of Japan) - approximately 3 hours drive east of Seoul.
This submarine was captured by the South Korean military in October 1996 after it's engines had malfunctioned and could not return to North Korea. The discovery of this downed submarine sparked a nation-wide manhunt for the submarine's occupants in the Autumn of 1996 known popularly in South Korea as the "Kangnung Infiltration Incident."
Here are some brief details on this incident associated with the target photograph: During a routine North Korean reconnaisance mission to the east coast of South Korea in September 1996, this submarine experienced mechanical failure and was abandoned by the crew of North Korean sailors and special operations forces (SOF - who had completed their mission undetected and were preparing to return to the North). Determining that ground movement was the only means to return North, the SOF killed the sailor crew (who the SOF judged to be incapable of successfully making the journey back North over rugged enemy terrain) and then attempted to travel north in order to cross the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). However, the submarine was discovered by South Korean forces soon after the SOF began their foot journey and a nation-wide alert was issued to track down the surviving North Korean SOF. After nearly four weeks of intensive searching - one SOF was captured, and one (possibly two) were unaccounted for and assumed to have successfully crossed the DMZ. The others were killed by South Korean military and police forces through the course of several armed skirmishes.