PETALING JAYA: Chinese police have reportedly foiled a plot to assassinate Kim Han Sol, the son of Kim Jong Nam who was murdered in Malaysia earlier this year.
Quoting a source familiar with North Korean affairs, South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo said seven agents from the communist state’s spy agency, Reconnaissance General Bureau, had been dispatched to Beijing to track down Han Sol.
Of the seven, two were arrested by Chinese police. They are being held at a special facility on the outskirts of Beijing.
Investigations are ongoing, the report added.
Han Sol, 22, was last heard of in March, when a video surfaced showing a man claiming to be Jong Nam’s son.
The video was posted online by a group calling itself Cheollima Civil Defense. The group said it was protecting Jong Nam’s family and had relocated it to safety.
“We have in the past addressed other urgent needs for protection. This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed,” it said in a statement on its website.
The group also thanked four countries which it said had facilitated the protection given to Jong Nam’s family: China, the Netherlands, the US and a fourth unnamed government.
Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13 while awaiting a flight to Macau.
He was attacked by two women: Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28. They are currently on trial for his murder.
Following Jong Nam’s death, a former high-ranking North Korean diplomat warned that Han Sol could be next as he was a potential barrier to his uncle’s pursuit of power.
Thae Yong Ho, who was previously minister at London’s North Korean embassy, said Jong Nam had been “the biggest obstacle” to Jong Un’s push for long-term power in North Korea.
Although Jong Nam was now dead, Han Sol was “a being that cannot be tolerated from the perspective of Kim Jong Un”, he was quoted as saying by Japanese media.
“It remains to be seen how possible his survival would be.”