Fan death is a misconception, common in Korean culture, that running an electric fan in a closed room can lead to death. – Wikipedia
To say the plan was elaborate was a colossal understatement. With practically no access to technology, limited financial means and non-existent ground support, it all had to go perfectly.
How do you kill someone and make it look…well, not like an accident. Because if there’s one thing that’s more suspicious than a murder, it’s a murder that was made to look like an accident. They might as well put out a press release.
No. What you need is something more like fate. Something people accept. Something your victim had coming. Something for which they had no one else to blame but themselves. Getting someone to pick up smoking would be nice – if only it didn’t take so long. Plus, other branches had already successfully implemented that one decades ago on a broader basis. They called it grass roots – or well, leaves – warfare.
It took her years. Years of planted newspaper stories. Years of forum posts and conspiracy blogs. Years of pretending to be a factory employee who blew the whistle on a cover up. Years of creating the myth of the ‘fan death’.
The beauty of it was that the outspoken activists she had in mind were among the easiest to take out. If you have the arrogance to think yourself better than those in power, you also have the arrogance to look down on their followers. Fan death? Ridiculous. Fodder for the sheeple in slow summer months. Not only that, it also kept the innocent-rule-abiders and the playing-it-safe-crowd out of harms way.
Originally, they only planned to use the electric fan business to generate cash for their field agents. An inconspicuous cover that didn’t require a lot of technical know-how, provided plenty of reasons to travel and didn’t attract any unwanted attention.
Things changed when she found out one of the agents she financed was about to turn rogue. He was her first victim. She dropped off the fan herself. A gift from the landlady. She wasn’t sure if it would work. But even her own agents believed ‘fan death’ to be South Korean propaganda to curb electricity usage.
Three days later – and before he could meet the Americans – he was dead. The media had a field day with another fan death while she was halfway across the country at a ‘sales’ conference. But his cover identity held up, even in death.
With 87 confirmed kills in 31 years, she is North Korea’s number two spy. Looking back now, it was a lot easier than she thought. Hide the nerve toxin with a day-night-timer in the fan, wait till the guy was sent to the hospital, switch the fan for an unmodified model, rinse – it literally only took water to wash it off – and repeat. The switching wasn’t really necessary. No one ever investigated. Because who on earth takes fan death seriously?