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A court in Seoul has dismissed a suit brought by an aunt of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, against three fellow defectors for defamation. The suit was filed in November by Ko Yong-suk, who, with her husband Pak Kun, mentored Kim Jong-un when he was...

Defamation suit by Kim Jong-un's aunt dismissed

A court in Seoul has dismissed a suit brought by an aunt of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, against three fellow defectors for defamation. The suit was filed in November by Ko Yong-suk, who, with her husband Pak Kun, mentored Kim Jong-un when he was...

Defamation suit by Kim Jong-un's aunt dismissed

A court in Seoul has dismissed a suit brought by an aunt of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, against three fellow defectors for defamation.

The suit was filed in November by Ko Yong-suk, who, with her husband Pak Kun, mentored Kim Jong-un when he was at boarding school in Switzerland in the 1990s.

With the uncertain power-politics of the time in Pyongyang lacking appeal, Mrs Ko and her husband decided to defect in 1997. Instead of seeking to resettle in South Korea, where they would have been far easier targets for the North's assassination squads, they opted to move to the United States.

Given new identities and names - Pak Kun is now known as Lee Kang - they apparently settled into their new lives smoothly.

They chose to emerge from hiding last year, however, to file the defamation suit demanding 60 million won (£36,450) in damages from three North Koreans who had defected to the South and were appearing as analysts of the North Korean regime in the media.

Ko Yong-suk, aunt of Kim Jong-un (left), was accused of siphoning off cash from a secret fund set up by Kim Jong-il (right).  Photo: Xinhua/Reuters

Mrs Ko accused the three defectors of spreading false information that she had engineered the expulsion of Kim Jong-un's half-brother from North Korea and that she had undergone plastic surgery in the United States.

She was also accused of siphoning off cash from a secret fund set up by Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's father, and that her own father had collaborated during Japan's colonial rule over the peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

"My wife has a heart condition and was very upset by what the defectors said", Mr Lee told Yonhap news.

The Seoul Central District Court said it was dismissing the case on Thursday because Mrs Ko's legal team had failed to comply with an earlier order to provide correct addresses for the three accused so they could be served with court papers.

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The collapse of the case will disappoint watchers of the North Korean regime, who would have hoped to witness the Kim family's dirty laundry being aired in public.

Questions would certainly have been asked, for example, about how Lee Kang had been able to slip into South Korea and hire a legal team without attracting the attention of local authorities.

The defence would also have been able to quiz the couple about their financial arrangements with Pyongyang before they defected, as well as suggestions that Lee Kang was involved in smuggling contraband for the Kim family as part of the regime's efforts to obtain hard currency.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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