June 24, 2009 23:43
A South Korean newspaper report says North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has put his youngest son in charge of the country's secret police.
The report in the Dong-A Ilbo, which is based on information from an unnamed source, says Kim visited North Korea's State Security Department in March, along with his son Jong-un. The report says that during the visit he told agency leaders to regard his son as the agency's head. Kim also ordered members of the agency to protect his son with their lives as they have done for him in the past. The report adds that Kim awarded agency officials five imported luxury cars worth some $80,000 each.
The paper says Pyongyang's State Security Department, which cracks down on dissidents and conducts overseas spy operations, has been under Kim's control since 1987.
South Korean officials say Kim, who reportedly suffered a stroke last August, has nominated his son to succeed him.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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