The whereabouts of Kim Han-sol, the 19-year-old nephew of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, became much sought after in the wake of the execution of the leader’s uncle and political bigwig Jang Song-thaek last week.
On Monday, Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported that Kim’s name had been removed from his mail box at Sciences-Po’s Le Havre campus, where he had been attending as a freshman. According to the report, his name tag was intact on Friday, but had been removed on Saturday.
“He is not at the school, nor is he at the dormitory,” a fellow student of Kim told the paper, but added that he may show himself again next week for exams.
The “disappearance” of the young Kim, who had seldom shied away from the media, grabbed attention here. His father Kim Jong-nam, the oldest son of the late Kim Jong-il, reportedly has an icy relationship with his younger brother.
Some believe Jong-nam is linked to the demise of Jang. Local media, citing anonymous sources, said that the formerly prominent uncle of Kim Jong-un attempted to overthrow him and hoist Jong-nam as the communist country’s new leader.
Earlier in the month, Jang was publicly ousted on the charges of faction-building, gambling and other violations.
There is no evidence yet that Kim Han-sol has been approached by his uncle’s men, but reports suggest French authorities are pondering the possibility.
A member of the South Korean media who visited Kim’s dormitory said he encountered five French police officers who asked him if he was from North Korea. The officers said that students had been calling the police whenever an Asian person asked for Kim’s whereabouts.