The North Korean repeat defector Kim Kwang-ho and his family apparently arrived in South Korea recently.
Kim and his family were arrested in China on July 14 after fleeing the North again. They first defected to the South in 2009 but mysteriously returned to the North last year and were paraded before the state media early this year denouncing a South Korean plot to lure them away.
A diplomatic source in Seoul on Sunday said, "Thanks to a considerate gesture from China and the help of South Korean intelligence, Kim, his wife and his daughter are believed to have arrived in South Korea secretly."
Intelligence forces are investigating how and why the Kim family returned to North Korea and escaped again.
However, Kim's sister- and brother-in-law, who left North Korea with Kim last month, are still being detained in China, presumably because they have no South Korean passports since this is their first escape. Seoul is asking Beijing to send them here too for humanitarian reasons.
Given the sensitivity of the case, the government here refused to comment.
China apparently accepted Seoul’s argument that Kim is a South Korean national since he had already defected to the South.
President Park Geun-hye's appeal to Beijing to let North Korean defectors go to South Korea is likely to have played a part in Beijing's decision.