North Korean diplomat, tasked with watching defectors, defects

Thae Yong Ho (YouTube)
Thae Yong Ho (YouTube)

A high-ranking North Korean diplomat has defected and ended up in South Korea.

Thae Yong Ho, based at the North Korean embassy in London, was ironically in charge of monitoring North Korean defectors.

He disappeared earlier this month with his wife and children. His son Kum Thae's Facebook page disappeared, worrying his friends.

Now Mr Thae has surfaced in South Korea. The country's Ministry of Unification said he was "sick and tired of the Kim Jong-un regime" and concerned for his children's future.

Kum was doing well at school, and Mr Thae feared if he was called back to Pyongyang, Kum's studies would be interrupted.

The Guardian reported the UK's intelligence agency MI6 probably helped him defect.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, told the paper Mr Thae's relatives still living in North Korea would probably be put into forced labour camps.