Original story: 8/18/16
Thae was North Korea’s deputy ambassador in London. He is the highest ranking Pyonyang diplomat ever to flee the regime for the democratic South. Thae regularly spoke highly of the philosophies of the regime and expressed how capitalism would not work. He spoke often and highly of leftist ideology. However, his desire to defect was due to his discontent with the Kim Jung Un regime and because he wanted to provide his family better opportunities in life.
It is expected that officials will interview him to gain better insight into the secretive North Korea regime.
London officials declined to comment on Thae’s defection and calls to his cell phone were redirected to voicemail. Source: Reuters: North Korea deputy ambassador in UK defects to South
Update: 8/20/16: North Korea brand defector sex criminal
North Korean officials branded Thae a child rapist and stated that he fled to avoid punishment for a variety of crimes. KCNA stated, “This one clearly deserves legal punishment for crimes he has committed but he proved that he is human scum that has no basic loyalty as a human and no conscience and morality by running away to survive and abandoning the homeland and parents and siblings that raised and stood by him.” Source: Reuters: North Korea brands defector from UK embassy sex criminal ‘scum’
Update: 8/23/16: Thae’s in-laws have close ties to Kim Jong Un
It is believed that Thae’s wife’s family has close connections to the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. The sources did not elaborate on the connection. Un has ordered the adult children of diplomats serving overseas to return to North Korea. In addition, he has reactivated service in the Youth Congress. Participants range in age from 14 to 30 and are to pledge their allegiance to Un. There is no proof that Thae stole money from the North Korea regime despite earlier reports. Source: International Business Times: Defected North Korea diplomat Thae Yong-ho’s wife ‘a close relative’ of Kim Jong Un
Update: 9/17/16: Defected diplomat’s replacement
Thae Yong-Ho was charged with keeping an eye on North Koreans who defected to the UK. However, in the wake of Thae’s defection, government officials believe Kim Jong-Un will replace Thae with a more hardline diplomat. Source: Daily Star: Fears Kim Jong-Un will send die hard to replace ambassador in UK