August 22, 2016 11:54
North Korea on Saturday accused defector Thae Yong-ho, the No. 2 diplomat in its London embassy, of running from punishment and called him "human scum."
It was Pyongyang's first public reaction since news of Thae's defection to South Korea broke last week.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said Thae had been recalled to Pyongyang in June because he embezzled state funds, sold official secrets and sexually assaulted a minor.
The statement gave no evidence of the claim but added Thae "proved himself to be human scum who betrayed the fatherland" by fleeing.
The shrill reaction seems aimed at minimizing the impact of Thae's defection on morale. A Unification Ministry official here said the claims are "ludicrous" and "seek to tarnish Thae as a criminal simply to protect the regime."
Other state media did not mention the defection.
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