A few days back it was the 45th anniversary of the Blue House Raid, the attempted assassination of Park Chung-hee by an infiltrating team of North Korean commandos belonging to Unit 124. I'd heard of this before but never realised it was quite so...relentless.
Late on the evening of January 20, clad in the uniforms of the local infantry division, the North Koreans trickled into Seoul in small groups. They met up at Seungga-sa Temple and moved towards the Blue House. Taking advantage of the city’s feverish atmosphere, the group joined in formation and marched as an ROK patrol for the last mile. It was an audacious decision.
The infiltrators marched directly past numerous police and military checkpoints. At some point, however, one South Korean unit second-guessed their complacence and phoned ahead. Less than half a mile from the Blue House, a district police chief’s jeep pulled up, challenging the advancing column for information. Their response was a burst of machine gun fire, killing the policeman and his driver.
Wiki over here. The raid was originally busted when the commandos ran across a group of woodcutters, debated whether or not to kill them and instead gave them a four hour lecture on the inevitable victory of communism before turning them loose. Thus inspired, the woodcutters went straight to the cops.
Two of the 31 Unit 124 commandos survived the raid. One got back top the north and ended up a four star general in the KPA. The other was captured. He later became a pastor in Seoul.
There's a sequel. Park ordered the formation of Unit 684 with the sole aim of returning Kim Il-Sung's favour. After several years brutal training, which killed seven of its members, Park had second thoughts and disbnanded the unit. At which point, its members went berserk, killed most of their trainers and set off for Seoul on a hijacked bus, apparently intending to finish what Unit 124 had started. Most killed themselves with hand grenades when they were intercepted by the military. The surviving four were tried in secret and executed in 1972.