Kim Jong-un’s aunt sought asylum with the US Embassy while the future leader of N. Korea was in the early years of his secondary education in a Swiss boarding school, according to a report in JoongAng Ilbo.
Ko Young-suk, the younger sister of Kim’s mother Kim Jong-un’s mother, Ko Young-hui who died from breast cancer at the age of 51 in 2004.
Ko had been assigned to act as her nephew’s guardian during his years in a boarding school in Bern from 1996 to 2001. In 1998 she and her husband sought asylum at the US embassy, according to a former senior intelligence official and a S. Korean diplomat stationed in Bern at the time.
“The United States spirited away the couple without even informing us,” the S. Korean intelligence official said.
The couple were taken to a US military base in Frankfurt. After they were flown to the US they had plastic surgery to avoid being tracked down by N. Korean agents and remained under US protection. Ko is now believed to be 56 years old. Her new identity and whereabouts remain secret.
North Korea is known to to have sent highly trained agents to assassinate high-level defectors, necessitating the types of precautions taken by Ko and her husband, as well as by many other defectors.