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Official Seethes Over Daughter 'Snatched Off the Streets'

Seems North Korea repatriated Jo Song Gil's daughter from Italy
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 6:00 PM CST
This March 20, 2018 photo shows North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy Jo Song Gil, center, holding a model of "Bell of Peace of Rovereto" during a cultural event on the occasion of a visit of the North...   (Parish of Farra di Soligo via AP)
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(Newser) – "Those responsible for this will pay." A seething Italian official made that claim amid reports North Korea had snatched back the daughter of a diplomat who may have defected to the West, Reuters reports. Talk of the possible defection surfaced after Jo Song Gil, North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy, vanished from Rome in January with his wife. Now Italy says North Korea may have taken Gil's unidentified 17-year-old daughter—left behind when Gil and his wife fled to an unnamed Western country—back home. The Telegraph says she was "snatched off the streets" in Rome. "She now risks being tortured by one of the worst regimes in the world," writes Manlio Di Stefano, undersecretary at the Italian Foreign Ministry, in his angry Facebook post.

Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat in London who defected to South Korea in 2016, confirms the story. "I do not know for sure how many children Jo had, but the one who stayed in Italy has been sent back to North Korea," he tells a South Korean news agency, per the Guardian. "Jo is currently with his wife." According to Italy's foreign ministry, Pyongyang told them in December that Gil and his wife disappeared Nov. 10 and their daughter was taken back to her grandparents in North Korea four days later. Antonio Razzi, an Italian lawmaker who frequently defends North Korea, took Kim Jong Un's side once again. "Those two wretches left their daughter alone," he said of Gil and his wife. "...It is normal that she was sent back to her grandparents." Italy says it's looking into the matter. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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