Taiwan denies Kim Jong Nam's son is on island

A man, who identified himself as Kim Han Sol, speaks in an unknown location, in this undated video posted on YouTube by a group called Cheollima Civil Defense. An official at South Korea's National Intelligence Service said the man in the video is th
A man, who identified himself as Kim Han Sol, speaks in an unknown location, in this undated video posted on YouTube by a group called Cheollima Civil Defense. An official at South Korea's National Intelligence Service said the man in the video is the 21-year-old son of Kim Jong Nam. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI • A Taiwanese immigration official denied yesterday that the son of the recently slain half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in Taiwan, after reports suggested he was on the island.

National Immigration Agency head Ho Jung Tsun said that Mr Kim Han Sol, the son of Mr Kim Jong Nam, had not entered Taiwan, reported the China Post. But Mr Ho admitted he "did not know" whether Mr Kim had transited in Taiwan while travelling elsewhere.

South Korean media had reported that Mr Kim left his home in Macau and arrived in Taiwan on Feb 15, two days after his father was killed in Malaysia. According to South Korean media SBS, he left the island soon after for Europe out of security concerns. His final destination is likely to be the Netherlands.

Intelligence sources cited by news site The Chosun Ilbo said Mr Kim left Macau after his father's assassination and fled to a South-east Asian country. One intelligence source said he searched for a Western country that could protect him.

 

The source added that Mr Kim and his family could not have left Macau, a special administrative region of China, without the help of Beijing. Transit points mentioned include Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand, which all house regional offices of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Mr Kim is now believed to be living abroad under the protection of a foreign government along with his mother, Ms Ri Hye Kyong, and sister Sol Hui.

On Tuesday, a person identifying himself as Kim Han Sol appeared in a video posted on YouTube, saying that his father had been killed.

If his identity is confirmed, this would be the first time a member of Mr Kim Jong Nam's family has publicly acknowledged his death.

Malaysian authorities say that Mr Kim Jong Nam was killed by the nerve agent VX in an apparent assassination at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last month.

Two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, have been charged with his murder, and another seven North Korean men are being sought for questioning. North Korea has insisted the dead person is one Kim Chol, and accused Malaysia of conspiring with its enemies in the murder investigations.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'Taiwan denies Kim Jong Nam's son is on island'. Print Edition | Subscribe