Half-brother of North Korean Leader Murdered in Malaysia: Reports

BenarNews staff
Kuala Lumpur
2017-02-14
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170214-MY-kim-jong-nam-1000.jpg Police stand outside the forensic morgue of a hospital in Putrajaya, Malaysia, where a post-mortem examination was to be done on the body of a North Korean man who died after falling ill at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport, Feb. 14, 2017.
Fadzil Aziz/BenarNews

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET on 2017-02-14

The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was assassinated Monday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysian and South Korean media reported Tuesday.

Kim Jong-Nam had been poisoned with a needle by two women believed to be North Korean operatives who fled in a taxi and were at large, South Korean cable network TV Chosun reported, citing South Korean government sources.

“The police have confirmed a North Korean who died at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday was Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un,” Malaysia’s state-run Bernama news agency reported.

The report cited Fadzil Ahmat, a senior police official in Selangor state where the incident occurred. It gave no further details on the victim’s identity.

“Initial police investigations found the man was at KLIA at 8 a.m. to take a flight to Macau in China scheduled at 9 a.m. yesterday. While waiting for the flight, a woman came from behind and covered his face with a cloth laced with a liquid,” Fadzil was quoted as saying.

“Following this, the man was seen struggling for help and managed to obtain the assistance of a KLIA receptionist as his eyes suffered burns as a result of the liquid.

“Moments later, he was sent to the Putrajaya Hospital where he was confirmed dead.”

In a statement earlier Tuesday, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said that a North Korean man identified in his passport as Kim Chol sought medical assistance at the low-cost terminal of KLIA and had died en route to hospital on Monday.

“Investigation is in progress and a post mortem examination request has been made to ascertain the cause of death,” he said.

An official at the Forensic Department of Putrajaya Hospital told BenarNews that the post-mortem examination would be carried out Wednesday morning.

Alias?

The deceased Korean was holding a passport with the number 836410070 and a birthdate of June 10, 1970, Khalid said.

Kim Jong-Nam is in his mid-40s and has been known to travel under a different name, according to reports.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said it could not confirm the reports, and the country’s intelligence agency could not immediately be reached for comment.

Malaysia is among a small list of countries with close relations with the communist regime in Pyongyang under global sanctions over its illegal nuclear weapons drives and ballistic missile launches, the latest of which took place at the weekend.

South Korea’s national news agency, Yonhap, quoted a source as saying that agents of the North’s spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, carried out the assassination on Monday by taking advantage of a security loophole between Jong-Nam’s bodyguards and Malaysian police at the airport, AFP said.

Malaysian police accounts of the death were based on CCTV footage, according to Malaysian newspaper Berita Harian.

“Based on initial investigations, we have a woman who appears to be Korean approaching the victim before suddenly covering his head,” Selangor police chief Abdul Samah Mat Mat told Berita Harian on Monday night.

“At this moment, police are examining the CCTV footage to get a clear picture of the suspect before she acted,” he said.

The suspect and another woman fled from the scene, Mat said.

“At this moment we cannot give any clear motive including whether this case is linked to conflicts inside or outside of North Korea,” he said.

“Our focus is to identify the suspect involved and to hunt down this suspect for further measures in accordance with the laws of this country.”

The exact cause of death had not been identified because a post-mortem examination was not yet complete, he said.

The incident happened at 8 a.m. Monday when the victim was in the departure hall of KLIA2, and planning to board a flight to Macau after arriving in Malaysia on Feb. 6, Berita Harian reported.

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