A failed North Korean assassin was discovered in South Korea with a personal armoury of tiny, James Bond-style devices on his way to murder a prominent activist.

The tech found on his person after he was apprehended in Seoul included a poison needle disguised as a pen.

The strange device - straight out of a James Bond film from decades past - was designed to look like a Parker-brand ballpoint.

The pen was shown to CNN, and described as "practically impossible to identify".

The poison it contained was designed to be injected with a subtle push from the assassin, and would suffocate a target in seconds.

A second pen was also found which shoots a bullet - also filled with poison - that penetrates the skin and releases a toxin.

A third device disguised as a flashlight - but containing a gun with three bullets - was also found.

Only the flashlight was "new" to the authorities, said CNN's source, but each is lethal and was intended to be used on a specific target - anti-North Korean activist Park Sang-hak.

The assassin - named only as "Ahn" - was intercepted by Korean intelligence before a planned meeting with Park.

Park was targeted, it is thought, in part because of his practice of sending balloons filled with anti-North propaganda over the border.

RELATED GALLERY: Declassified Spy Gear
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  • Suicide Pin

    If a CIA operative were caught, he could choose capture or death by this pin. When twisted the right way, the silver dollar would unleash a pin coated in saxitoxin. Its user would die in seconds from the poison.

  • Assassination Umbrella

    Spies aren't usually assassins. But some weapons, like this umbrella, have been used in the field. The assassination umbrella is equipped with a pellet of toxic ricin that will infect and kill its target slowly over the course of a few days. Its last known use was on Bulgarian defector and BBC reporter Georgi Markov in London, 1978.

  • Dead Drop Brick

    Spies in Moscow in the 60s had a variety of "dead drops" they could use to secretly pass around notes and other contraband, including these hollow bricks.

  • Dead Drop Rat

    Rats' hollowed-out bodies also served as an effective dead drop for money, notes and other contraband being moved around Moscow.

  • Exploding Coal Paint Set

    Spies would use fake, exploding coal to sabotage supply lines -- and this paint set to make the coal look real.

  • Matchbox Camera

    In the 40s, spies were using cameras smaller than your smartphone!

  • Sleeping Beauty

    Think you could be a spy? Try floating a one-man submarine into Singapore harbor and planting mines on Japanese ships in World War II. Not easy, but this submersible is cool.

  • Lock Picks Kit

    And they all fit in this handy dandy sheath.

  • Time-Delay Pencil Detonators

    With these bad boys, you could even get away BEFORE the explosion.

  • Beano Grenade

    The OSS designed the Beano grenade to feel like a baseball and explode on impact -- rather than bouncing away from its target and blowing up elsewhere.