Defector Thae Yong-hoNorth Korea leader Kim Jong-un
Thae Yong-ho, a former deputy ambassador to Britain, is convinced he is on a hit-list after giving a series of speeches and interviews denouncing the Pyongyang regime since defecting to South Korea last year.
Security has been stepped up around Mr Thae amid fears he could face a similar fate to Kim Jong-nam, who died after being poisoned in a broad daylight attack at a Malaysian airport last Monday.
The murder is widely believed to have been carried out by North Korean secret agents on the orders of his dictator half-brother after making dismissive remarks about his regime.
Thae Yong-ho fears for his life after the assassination of Kim John-nam
In order to prevent more possible defections from North Korea, I think Kim Jong-un will do anything
A South Korean government official told the JoongAng newspaper: “The number of personnel guarding Thae and his family around the clock has been doubled and the security net has been strengthened.”
In a recent interview with CBS, 54-year-old Mr Thae said: “The world saw live evidence of Kim Jong-un’s reign of terror unfolding in North Korea.
“In order to prevent more possible defections from North Korea, I think Kim Jong-un will do anything.”
Asked if this included his own murder, he replied: “Of course. Why not?”
Kim Jong-nam is believed to have been murdered on the orders of his half-brother Kim Jong-un
More than a week after Kim’s death, the authorities in Malaysia have not identified how he died.
Security camera footage shows him in Kuala Lumpur international airport being approached by two women, one of whom appears to thrust something into his face from behind before walking away. He died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.
A post-mortem examination was carried out last Wednesday, but yesterday a senior Malaysian official said that the authorities were still awaiting the results of laboratory tests.
Thae Yong-ho has been an outspoken critic of North Korea since his defection last year The Kim Dynasty: Inside North Korea's secretive 'first family' Tue, February 14, 2017
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KIM JONG-SUK: North Korean founder Kim Il-sung and his first wife Kim Jong-suk gave birth to their son Kim Jong-il in 1941.
North Korea’s ambassador in Kuala Lumpur accused Malaysia of “colluding with the hostile forces” because it is insisting on handing his body to his next of kin, rather than to his embassy.
Police are questioning two women, a 28-year-old Vietnamese and a 25-year-old Indonesian, who are said to have admitted carrying out the attack. They apparently believed that they were taking part in a prank video for a television programme.
Police have also arrested the boyfriend of one of the women and a North Korean man who was working in Malaysia. They are looking for four other North Korean men who flew out of Kuala Lumpur on the day of the attack.
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