North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s nephew, who is now studying in France, has gone under the radar after the execution of Pyongyang’s No 2 man, reported South Korean media.
On December 14, two days after the high-profile purge of Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek, 19-year-old Kim Han-sol’s name had been removed from the post box in his dormitory at the prestigious Sciences-Po’s Le Havre campus, reported one of South Korea’s major dailies DongA Ilbo.
When a South Korean reporter visited Kim’s dormitory a day earlier, on December 13, his name had still been on the mailbox; the reporter also knocked on Kim’s room but it seemed deserted, said the paper.
Last Friday, the South Korean journalist who visited Kim’s dormitory was questioned by five French police officers after they were notified by students. They asked the reporter if he was from North Korea and verified his passport, residence permit and foreign press pass issued by Paris. Whenever an Asian person comes to campus and asks other students about Kim’s whereabouts, they call the police, the university told the daily.
Kim enrolled as a student at Sciences-Po this August and has since been caught on camera several times by South Korean journalists.
South Korean media speculated that the young man has been laying low for his safety, which was likely at greater risk following Jang’s execution.
The young man’s father Kim Jong-nam is the eldest son of ex-leader Kim Jong-il and the black sheep of North Korea’s ruling family, reportedly living in exile in China and Singapore.
Executed leader Jang Song-thaek and his wife had raised Kim Jong-nam and Jang had supported Kim’s life in exile.
Kim Jong-nam previously lived in Macau but moved after his younger half-brother Kim Jong-un came into power.
North Korea’s state-run paper Rodong Sinmun stated lately that “a person who can point a gun without hesitation to one’s flesh and blood is a true man of principle,” raising concerns over the safety of Kim Jong-nam and his son Han-sol.