A North Korean defector is thought to have sought refuge at the South Korean diplomatic mission in Hong Kong as security around the consulate has been heightened. The yet-unidentified North Korean national is believed to be a member of an academic delegation that visited a local university.

According to the South China Morning Post, security forces involving a counter-terrorism unit have been deployed around the vicinity of the consulate located in Admiralty.

"The Admiralty site is one of the areas where police have ­enhanced patrols in the city," a source, who refused to divulge more details, was quoted as saying. Images floating around in social media show a heavy presence of vehicles near the building.

Neither the South Korean foreign ministry nor the Hong Kong authorities have yet commented on the incident, which has the potential to blow into a diplomatic storm at the semi-autonomous city-state.

It is rare for North Koreans to travel abroad and several have defected to foreign missions in the past. The latest incident has come when the rival Koreas have begun to step up their combative tone putting the Korean peninsula in a state of high tension.

Earlier, the case of a group of 13 North Korean restaurant workers who reportedly defected to South Korea abandoning their work at a Pyongyang-managed place in China, had gained much attention. However, Pyongyang contested the claims saying they were lured by Seoul.