SEOUL, July 8 (UPI) -- A North Korean diplomat based in Russia has gone missing, and it is likely he is attempting political asylum with his family.
According to a Pulkovo Airport official in St. Petersburg, the diplomat left the country on a plane bound for Belarus on July 2, Ria Novosti reported.
The man was identified by Russian media as Kim Chol Song, a third secretary and trade representative of the North Korean mission in St. Petersburg. Chinese state media, however, has said the man's name is Kim Chol Sam.
The diplomat, his wife and son boarded a Belavia Belarusian Airlines flight. They'd purchased the tickets three hours prior to boarding, according to the report.
Fontanka, an online Russian news site, quoted a local investigator who also said the North Korean envoy had left for Belarus to seek asylum in Europe.
The flight the North Koreans boarded left at 7:45 p.m. from Pulkovo Airport, and arrived in Minsk at 9:13 p.m., Fontanka reported.
Another North Korean trade representative in St. Petersburg, presumably a colleague of Kim's, told police the missing man left the diplomatic compound in a government vehicle on July 1.
When the diplomat became incommunicado, the trade representative reported the incident that then led to the investigations, Yonhap reported.