Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Malaysia official: North Korea leader's brother dead, attacked at airport

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 2:36 AM
A TV screen shows pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his older brother Kim Jong Nam (left) at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, February 14.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP):
The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was assassinated at a Kuala Lumpur airport, telling medical workers before he died en route to a hospital that he had been attacked with a chemical spray, a senior Malaysian official said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the incident's diplomatic sensitivity, said Kim Jong Nam was sprayed with the liquid in the shopping concourse on Monday and sought help at an information counter, complaining of pain. He was taken to the airport clinic and then died on the way to the hospital, he said.

District police chief Abdul Aziz Ali said he was waiting for a flight to Macau.

Kim Jong Nam reportedly fell out of favour in North Korea after being caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport in 2001, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland. He reportedly enjoyed gambling and has been living in recent years in Macau, Singapore and Malaysia.

South Korean media reported that Kim Jong Nam was assassinated 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.

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 of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, once considered the country's second most powerful man, for what the North alleged was treason. The South's government has said the North also executed a vice premier for education in 2016 for unspecified antirevolutionary and factional acts, and a defence minister in 2015 for treason.

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.