North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ho Myong Uk

updated February 24, 2018

Ho Myong Uk [Ho Myo’ng-uk] is a department director of  Office #35.  He is a civilian intelligence manager, responsible for intelligence collection and overseas operations.  Ho has been a member and manager of the DPRK intelligence community for nearly four decades.

Ho was born in the 1930s in North Hamgyong.  He graduated from Kim Il Sung University, and also attended a railway school in the PRC.  Ho Myong Uk was recruited into DPRK intelligence in the 1960s.  In the 1970s Ho worked successively as a section chief and deputy (vice) director of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Society and Culture Guidance Bureau.  Ho reportedly had a role in the Shin-Choi abduction and the bombing of Korean Airlines’ Flight #858.  In the 1980s he began working for Office #35 as a deputy director.  Around 1992 he was assigned to manage Office #35’s Beijing office.  He returned to Pyongyang in 1995, and assigned to Office #35’s senior deputy director.

In 1998 Ho became Office #35 interim director, and became the department’s director around March 2000.  In early 2009 the DPRK formally consolidated much of its overseas intelligence agencies under the NDC General Reconnaissance Bureau.  Office #35 became part of the NDC GRB’s Bureau #3.  Despite Office #35’s subordination to the NDC, Ho remained as the department’s director, and reported to Kim Jong Il for some time.

Ho was not re-elected to membership on the WPK Central Committee at the 3rd Party Conference in September 2010, and was not included on a KCNA list of WPK Central Committee Department Directors.

As of 2017, Ho is most likely retired.

Ho Myong Uk


1970s: Section Chief, CC KWP Society and Culture Guidance Bureau

Promoted, deputy director, CC KWP Society and Culture Guidance Bureau

1980s: Deputy director, CC KWP External Intelligence and Investigation Department

1992: Field Office Manager (and deputy director), Beijing (Office #35)

1995: Deputy director, Office #35

1998: Interim director, Office #35

2000: Department director, Office #35

Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., “A New Emphasis on Operations Against South Korea,” 38 North, U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, June 11, 2010. Online at:

Yonhap News Agency.  The North Korea Handbook (Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 2003)

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