SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s aunt fled to the United States while looking after her nephew during his time at a Swiss boarding school in the 1990s, a report said Tuesday.
Ko Yong Suk, who effectively vanished in 1998, had in fact been granted U.S. political asylum, South Korea’s JoongAng Daily said, citing a former senior intelligence official and a South Korean diplomat based in Bern at the time.
The newspaper said Ko, who will now be 56, and her husband had cosmetic surgery to conceal their identities and remain under the protection of the U.S. authorities.
Kim attended an international school in Bern from 1996-2001 and Ko was sent to care for him during his studies there.
Ko and her husband reportedly made their initial bid for asylum through the U.S. Embassy.
“The United States spirited away the couple without even informing us,” the unidentified intelligence official said.
They were first taken to a U.S. military base in Frankfurt and then flown to the United States.
Ko is the younger sister of Kim’s mother, Ko Yong Hui, who died from breast cancer in 2004, aged 51.