Here are a few links relating to Minister Thae Yong-ho’s defection. Minister Thae was the cultural attache at the DPRK embassy in London, and according to reports effectively the deputy head of mission.
At LKL, we came across him during the second art exhibition held at the embassy back in 2014. He was probably there when we visited the exhibition of Paekho artists back in 2007, but we weren’t introduced. Since 2014 we’ve been on each other’s Christmas / New Year card list.
Here’s hoping that he has not left many vulnerable family members back in the DPRK. According to the Yonhap report linked below, he had been in London for 10 years, an unusually long posting.
- North Korean envoy in U.K. defects with wife, Lee Young-jong and Kang Jin-kyu, Korea JoongAng Daily, 17 August 2016
- High-ranking North Korean diplomat in London defects to South Korea, Luke Harding, Guardian, 16 August, updated 17 August 2016
- My friend the North Korean defector, Steve Evans, BBC, 16 August 2016
- North Korean defector Thae Yong-ho was ‘sick and tired of regime’, Luke Harding and Dina Nagapetyants, Guardian, 17 August 2016
- N.K. diplomat defector, wife from highly privileged families, Yonhap, 18 August 2016
- Defecting envoy from London is in South Korea, Kang Jin-kyu, Korea JoongAng Daily, 18 August 2016
- Defector is son of former comrade of Kim Il Sung, Kang Jin-kyu, Korea JoongAng Daily, 19 August 2016
- KCNA Commentary Accuses S. Korean Regime of Orchestrating Fresh Smear Campaign against DPRK, KCNA, 20 August 2016 (full text reproduced below)
- North Korea calls UK-based defector ‘human scum’, BBC, 20 August 2016
- North Korean defector was approached by British spies on golf course in Watford, Daily Express, 21 August 2016
KCNA press releases are always a nightmare to find on their website, so here’s the full text:
KCNA Commentary Accuses S. Korean Regime of Orchestrating Fresh Smear Campaign against DPRK
Pyongyang, August 20 (KCNA) — The south Korean puppet regime is busy ratcheting up the anti-DPRK smear campaign and confrontation.
Of late, the Park Geun Hye group of traitors in south Korea carried out an operation to bring to south Korea a DPRK’s diplomat who fled his mission in London with his family for fear of legal punishment for his crimes.
He was instructed to return home in June last for questioning as regards the embezzlement of huge amount of state funds, leakage of state secrets for money and rape of a minor.
The Central Public Prosecutors Office of the DPRK looked into his crimes and issued a legal document on starting the investigation on July 12.
He deserved a legal punishment for his crimes, but he took to flight, betraying his country and parents and other kith and kin. He thus revealed himself as human scum bereft of elementary sense of moral obligation and conscience.
As already reported, the south Korean puppet regime committed such a hideous terrorism as kidnapping innocent citizens of the DPRK in daylight and taking them to south Korea. Not content with this, it is using the above-said bete noire for the anti-DPRK smear campaign and confrontation in a sinister bid to tarnish the DPRK’s international prestige at any cost and divert elsewhere the south Korean public criticism of its unpopular rule.
Great irony is that the south Korean puppet group is working hard to help the criminal improve his image by floating sheer lies that he was in charge of the party work at his mission and he was a son of an anti-Japanese revolutionary fighter and the like.
A dumping ground is full of blowflies.
The already tattered anti-DPRK smear campaign kicked off by the Park Geun Hye regime with criminals and human scum involved, taken aback by the ever-rising prestige of the DPRK, would only throw it into a bottomless quagmire.
What merits a serious attention is that the British authorities, who paint their country as a law-governed state, handed him to the south Korean puppet regime hell-bent on confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the DPRK in disregard of its legitimate demand for sending back the criminal and the international practice on his extradition.
From the outset of the incident the DPRK had informed the UK of what he committed and asked for his extradition for investigation.
However, the UK handed over the fugitive and his family carrying no passports to the south Korean puppet forces, contrary to its duty to protect the foreign diplomats in its country, thereby besmirching its image as a law-governed state.
By whisking off the criminal the UK left such indelible blot as getting involved in the crime and inciting the south Korean regime’s confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the DPRK.
Such act against elementary good faith perpetrated by the UK would only further deteriorate the complicated north-south relations and it would not do the UK good either.