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N. Korean officials abroad seek for asylum: source

2015/07/02 16:36

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korean officials abroad are increasingly irritated by the North's leader Kim Jong-un's so-called reign of terror and some of them have applied for asylum in South Korea, an informed source here said Thursday.

South Korea's state spy agency earlier said that since taking power in late 2011, Kim has had about 70 senior officials executed in an effort to tighten his grip on the communist regime.

A number of North Korea's working-level officials based in foreign nations have sought asylum apparently to avoid Kim's rule, the source said, requesting anonymity.

"Many of them feel agitated (by Kim's rule) and some have already defected to the South," the source said.

The National Intelligence Service said in May that former defense chief Hyon Yong-chol was apparently purged due to his disloyalty to Kim and he might even have been executed with an anti-aircraft gun.

Earlier Thursday, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said about 10 North Korean military and party officials have made asylum attempts and some of them have defected to South Korea or chosen to stay in a third country.

The report said that a mid-ranking North Korean party official who used to serve in Hong Kong came to the South with his family early this year. The official reportedly used to manage the slush funds of the North Korean leader.

It also added a high-ranking military official is staying in a third country after fleeing the North.

An official at the Unification Ministry declined to comment on the report.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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