North Korea's nuclear chief arrested for 'passing secrets to a foreign power'

The head of North Korea's nuclear and missile development programmes has reportedly been arrested on charges of passing state secrets to a foreign intelligence agency.

North Korea's nuclear chief arrested for 'passing secrets to a foreign power'

Kim So-In, who was identified as a mathematical genius as a boy and taken under the wing of Kim Jong-Il, was arrested with his family in May and taken to the notorious Yodok concentration camp, according to South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

Kim So-In is accused of assisting his father, Kim Song-Il, a researcher at the Yongbyon Nuclear Complex, to pass top secret documents detailing North Korea's progress in developing nuclear technology to a foreign power.

The round-up is likely to have included Kim's mother and younger brother, who are also respected nuclear scientists.

Identified as a special talent at the age of 7, Kim was fast-tracked into the Bungang High School and, after the intervention of Kim Jong-Il, was sent abroad to study nuclear physics at the age of 13. Given a personal tutor at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, he received his master's degree at the age of 19 and a doctorate at 21, according to a defector from the North who worked under him.

Kim was one of a nucleus of around 20 scientists who received the best education and lifestyles that North Korea could provide and in return were expected to develop new weapons for the regime. Kim, who was considered the most senior in the group, was required to give regular progress reports directly to Kim Jong-Il.

Kim Jong-un, who was unveiled in September as the heir to his father's position as head of state, has been credited with unmasking the scientist as a traitor.


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