North Korea leader’s brother slain at airport
The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was assassinated at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, telling medical workers before he died en route to a hospital that he had been attacked with a chemical spray, a Malaysian official said Tuesday.
Kim Jong Nam, 46, was attacked Monday in the shopping concourse at the airport and had not gone through immigration yet for his flight to Macau, said the senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case involves sensitive diplomacy.
He was taken to the airport clinic and then died on the way to the hospital.
Kim Jong Nam was estranged from his younger brother, the North Korean leader. He had been tipped by outsiders to succeed their dictator father, but reportedly fell out of favour when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport in 2001, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
He was believed to have been living recently in Macau, Singapore and Malaysia.
Multiple South Korean media reports, citing unnamed sources, said Kim Jong Nam was killed at the airport by two women. TV Chosun, citing unidentified “multiple government sources,” said the women were believed to be North Korean agents. It said they fled in a taxi and were being sought by Malaysian police.
In Washington, the State Department said it was aware of reports of Kim Jong Nam’s death but declined to comment, referring questions to Malaysian authorities.
Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un have the same father, late dictator Kim Jong Il, but different mothers.
Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong Un has executed or purged a slew of high-level government officials in what the South Korean government has described as a “reign of terror.” The most spectacular among them was the 2013 execution by anti-aircraft fire of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, once considered the country’s second most powerful man, for what the North alleged was treason.