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(LEAD) N.K. math prodigy arrives in S. Korea after defection: report

All News 19:29 September 28, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS Seoul's response in paras 4-6)

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- A young North Korean math whiz who is believed to have sought asylum at the South Korean consulate in Hong Kong has recently arrived in Seoul, a foreign media outlet reported Wednesday.

Citing a report of news agency Factwire, the South China Morning Post said that the 18-year-old student "left Hong Kong for South Korea over the weekend," ending a two-month stay there.

The North Korean teen who took part in the International Mathematical Olympiad in Hong Kong walked into the South Korean consulate in the special administrative district in July and sought asylum, Hong Kong media outlets earlier reported.

A source said that the North Korean teenager arrived in South Korea on Saturday through a third country after leaving Hong Kong the same day.

South Korea's unification ministry declined to confirm the latest report.

"The government in principle does not confirm details about North Koreans' defections taking into account their safety and diplomatic relations with relevant countries," the ministry said.

If confirmed, the latest case adds to a series of socially well-off North Koreans escaping the country as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un seeks to tighten control over the people.


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