A South Korean newspaper is reporting that Chinese police in Beijing have smashed a plot by several North Korean agents to assassinate Kim Han-sol, the 22-year-old nephew of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
JoongAng Ilbo, citing a North Korean source, said that two out of seven suspected members of a hit squad working for Pyongyang have been apprehended by China’s National Security Ministry.
“A source in North Korea said on October 30, ‘Special operatives belonging to the North’s reconnaissance squad have penetrated to remove Kim Han-sol, but some of them were arrested last week by the Chinese Ministry of National Security and are currently under investigation at special facilities outside Beijing’”, according to the newspaper.
Chinese authorities reportedly uncovered the assassination plot during the recently ended 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing while they were “intensively monitoring” North Korean activities inside China.
Kim Han-sol is the eldest son of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Jong-un, who was assassinated earlier this year in Malaysia in a caper involving suspected North Korean agents. Han-sol is also the grandson of former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il.
He is believed to have been raised in China and Macau and is the focus of intense speculation given what some analysts contend is possible Chinese interest in effecting a regime change in North Korea.
Han-sol, who was rumored to be hiding in China, drew widespread notice in March following his father’s murder by appearing in a YouTube video posted by an unidentified group. In it, a young man who identifies himself as Han-sol says: “My father has been killed a few days ago. I’m currently with my mother and my sister.”
The subject also showed what appeared to be a North Korean diplomatic passport to confirm his identity.
Han-sol is believed to be college-educated and fluent in English. He had reportedly planned to study at Oxford University in England before his father was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13 this year with an alleged toxic nerve agent.
Two women are currently on trial in Malaysia for the alleged crime.