Thae Yong-ho (Korean: 태영호) is a former North Korean diplomat. He was North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom, prior to defecting with his family to South Korea in 2016. Mr. Thae is likely the highest-ranking North Korean official to ever defect. In August 2016, the South Korean government confirmed that Thae and his family were under their protection. Thae is married to O Hye-son (Korean: 오혜선), a member of the influential O family in North Korea. They have two sons. Their older son is a graduate of a British university, and their younger son, who was born in Denmark, when Thae was serving as a diplomat there, was studying at a London school. The younger son had recently been offered a place to study computer science at Imperial College London. However, the family had been recalled to Pyongyang just before Thae's defection. According to BBC reports, Thae is convivial, and enjoys Indian food, playing golf and tennis. In addition to Korean and English, he speaks fluent Chinese. In 2015, he escorted Kim Jong-chul, the older brother of Kim Jong-un, to an Eric Clapton concert in London. During his time in London, he lived in a two-bedroom flat in West London. He has been described as one of North Korea's elite, being regarded by observers as a sophisticated diplomat who was one of North Korea's "best and brightest". Following Thae's defection, the North Korean government issued a strongly-worded denunciation of him, describing him as "human scum."