North Korea has ordered its ambassador in London to return home over the scandal around his deputy's alleged defection to South Korea.
Hyon Hak-bong is being questioned by a team from North Korea's State Security Department, who are based in Berlin, the 'JoongAng Daily' South Korean newspaper reported.
Hyon and other diplomats based at North Korea's embassy in west London face possible punishments for their failure to alert headquarters over the disappearance of Thae Yong-ho from his base.
Thae went missing with his wife and two sons last month, following which South Korea's Unification Ministry confirmed on August 18 that the family had arrived in Seoul and were being protected by the government.
North Korea has ordered Ambassador Hyon to return to North Korea and filed a request with the British government to appoint a new ambassador.
The newspaper's sources claim that the replacement proposed to British authorities is a former officer in the North Korean military.
Media reports suggest that as many as seven North Korean diplomats have defected so far this year, including a government official stationed at the embassy in Bulgaria, one from Russia and several based at missions in East Asia.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)