DPRK says deputy ambassador to UK fled to escape punishment

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PYONGYANG, (Xinhua) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Saturday that Deputy Ambassador to Britain Thae Yong Ho has reportedly defected to the South to escape punishment for committing crimes.

Thae was accused of embezzling state funds, selling state secrets and raping a minor, said a commentary released by the official news agency KCNA.

The DPRK had recalled him in June to put him under investigation, and on July 12, the country’s Central Procuratorate decided to start a probe, the KCNA added.

The commentary also slammed South Korea‘s coverage of the incident and blamed Seoul for using the case to tarnish the DPRK’s image and step up anti-DPRK campaigns.

The incident was exacerbated by the fact that Britain, in disregard of international extradition practices, ignored the DPRK’s request to send Thae back, but instead handed him over to South Korea, which is keen on North-South confrontation.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Wednesday that the DPRK’s deputy ambassador to Britain has defected to South Korea with his family. If it is true, Thae would become the highest-ranking DPRK diplomat who has fled to Seoul.

Editor: Hou Qiang
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