A well-paying job and bodyguards await diplomat defector

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Thae Yong Ho, the most senior North Korean diplomat to flee to the South, is likely to have round-the-clock protection and make a comfortable living at a think-tank run by Seoul’s intelligence service, say elite defectors who followed a similar path.

Choi Ju-hwal was a colonel in the North Korean army when he fled to South Korea via Hong Kong during a business trip in China in 1995, making him the highest-level military defector at the time. Choi said that for two years, he had four armed policemen guarding him around the clock due to concerns about his safety. He now has a lower level of police protection.

While Thae had a relatively high public profile as a representative of North Korea in London, Choi expects the ex-diplomat to try to live anonymously in South Korea. “He won’t pursue a public life, because he has to think about the safety of his family he brought here.” Choi said.

One thing is certain: Well-connected defectors like Thae are treated as a valuable resource who can shed light on a secretive neighbor.


This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

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