A North Korean diplomat who vanished from the country’s London embassy to defect to South Korea said financial woes led to fears about paying the congestion charge. Thae Yong-Ho became one of the highest ranking officials ever to defect to the South when he suddenly left the embassy in Ealing with his wife and family. South Korean officials said Thae defected to Seoul after he became dissatisfied with Kim Jong-un’s secretive regime and wanted life in a democracy. And the newspaper revealed that during a talk he gave at a book shop in King’s Cross in 2014 that the diplomat held financial concerns in London which including stumping up the congestion charge. He said: “When I drive out from my embassy I have to think – what about congestion charges? He added friends in North Korea had little knowledge of how expensive London is and assumed his £1,200-a-month rented flat in west London came complete with a pool and sauna. South Korea government spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said Thae and his family were under government protection after their arrival in the country.
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