Brother of North Korea's Supreme Leader murdered in Malaysia, officials confirm

Peter Castro
February 15, 2017

There was no news of Jong-nam's death on North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency at press time.

"Kim Jong Nam was reported to be killed in Kuala Lumpur on February 13, and Malaysian government authorities are now investigating", a written statement carried by the South's Prime Minister's Office read quoting Hwang as saying. BuzzFeed News could not confirm those details.

Kim Jong-nam is the oldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Song Hye-rim, one of the elder Kim's mistresses who was South Korean-born.

He was spurned for the succession, and his father appointed his younger half-brother Kim Jong Un before his death in 2011.

"Regarding the National Security Council (NSC), the government judged that it was nearly certain that the person killed was Kim Jong Nam". He was caught that year trying to take his son to Tokyo Disneyland in Japan while using a fake visa, according to the newspaper. If this was Kim Jong-nam who got assassinated - and that's been the assumption so far - then it looks as though Jong-nam may have appropriated his half-brother's identity for travel.

"I hope my younger brother will do his best for the sake of North Koreans' prosperous lives", he continued.

According to Gomi, it was his Swiss education which convinced him North Korea was in need of embracing economic reforms.

Mr Kim, who survived an assassination attempt in Macau in 2011, was formerly the current leader's rival heir to the country but he fell out of favour in the Hermit Kingdom and moved overseas, living in Macau, China, Singapore and, Malaysia.

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He was an outspoken critic of the North Korean regime and often spoke out against his family's control of the country.

"So there could be bad blood between the brothers", he said.

The report, citing what it called multiple government sources, said the two women hailed a cab and fled immediately afterwards.

Kim Jong-nam was killed in an apparent poison attack in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday.

It is unclear if the half-brothers, Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un, spent any time together or had even met.

North Korea's serious human rights violations caught worldwide attention on the back of a landmark report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) released in early 2014. The idea that Kim Jong-nam would be targeted for assassination isn't new in itself. TV Chosun said that the North Korean leader appeared to have sent agents to assassinate his eldest sibling, considering him a potential threat to his rule.

Kim Jong Nam's first cousin and childhood playmate, a defector, was shot outside his home in South Korea in 1997. "But as I say, maybe, uneasy lays the head that wears the crown", Mr Foster-Carter said.

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