Kim Jae Kyu, the former head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency who assassinated South Korean president Park Chung Hee in October, was executed early this morning along with four of his accomplices, according to reports circulating in Seoul.
The Martial Law Command declined comment but South Korean news media reported being informally advised that Kim was hanged about 7 a.m. local time.
Kim was convicted by a military tribunal of shooting Park on Oct. 26 in the dining room of a KCIA building. He was director of the counterespionage and domestic surveillance agency at the time.
Kim claimed at his trial that he shot the president in an attempt to rid South Korea of dictatorship and to foster democracy. A long-time associate of the president, he claimed he had disagreed with the government on the handling of student riots last fall and feared a widespread crackdown on dissidents was coming.
The prosecution charged, however, that Kim had hopes of seizing control of the government and had planned to follow the assassination with a military government of his own.
Kim and the four accomplices, also former KCIA employes, were convicted of attempted sedition. The South Korean Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences last Tuesday.
Kim's four accomplices were involved in the killing of five of Park's bodyguards and aides who were near the scene of the assassination. One of Park's chief aides, Kim Kae Won, also had been convicted but his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.