Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the Inter-Korean Summit in Panmunjom, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images

A mysterious organization committed to overthrowing Kim Jong Un’s regime, that claimed responsibility for the raid on a North Korean embassy in Madrid in February, announced on its website Thursday that it was temporarily shutting down its operations due to increased interest from international media.

Visitors to the website of the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD), also known as Free Joseon, were greeted by a statement in Korean.

“We are an organization of refugees who escaped North Korea with the help of free shipbuilding and brought them together with their compatriots from all over the world,” a translated version of the statement read. “We will shake the Kim Jong Un regime with our revolutionary comrades in North Korea. While preparing for various actions aimed at the North Korean regime, the activities of the members of the action are suspended due to the attacks of all kinds of speculative articles of the press. We ask the media to restrain itself in its interest in our organization and its members. We have bigger tasks ahead.”

The group's announcement came 24 hours after admitting that it was behind the break-in at the North Korean embassy on Feb. 22, where a number of people entered the building with machetes, knives, metal bars and cable ties and proceeded to shackle and beat several of the staff members inside. The assailants left the facility with two computers, hard drives, USB drives and a mobile phone, which were later reportedly handed over to the FBI.

North Korean Embassy
A flag of North Korea waves in the wind on a post at the North Korean Embassy in Madrid, Spain, March 27, 2019. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

CCD took responsibility of the raid after Spanish authorities released the names of the 10 suspects in their ongoing investigation into the case. Arrest warrants were issued against two of the suspects in the raid. However, despite conflicting reports, the group insisted that during the raid, "no weapons were used" and staff were "treated with dignity and necessary caution".

Investigators believed that U.S.-based human rights activist Adrian Hong was the leader of CCD and was instrumental in organizing the embassy break-in. “It is Adrian [who is] behind this whole Cheollima Civil Defense,” three sources told NK News.

Adrian, who co-founded the refugee aid agency Liberty in North Korea, reportedly purchased items including five pistol holsters, four combat knives, six pellet guns and some protective goggles from a shop in Madrid prior to the raid.

In Thursday’s statement, CCD also revealed they had not made any contact with other North Korean defectors. “Due to strict security, we have not made any attempt to make connections with or even telephone any North Korean refugee residing in South Korea recently,” the group said.

The CCD was believed to have protected Kim Jong Un's nephew, Kim Han Sol, whose father, Kim Jong Nam, was assassinated in 2017 with a nerve agent at a Malaysian airport. Han Sol also made an appearance on the group’s YouTube channel after his father’s death. Before the trial of Jong Nam's alleged assassins was supposed to begin, CCD allegedly spray-painted graffiti over the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Although the group runs a website and a YouTube channel, they have managed to stay out of mainstream media until recently. Information about the size of the organization, its source of funding, or its membership procedure remains unclear.