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Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, reportedly assassinated

Feb 15,2017
이미지뷰
Kim Jong-nam [JOONGANG PHOTO]
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was assassinated by two North Korean spies in Malaysia, according to South Korean government sources Tuesday.

A local intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of former Pyongyang leader Kim Jong-il, was “stung by a poisoned needle” on Monday at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, and “died right at that spot.”

“I think the two female spies were dispatched by North Korea,” said the official, adding “they fled in a taxi right after the crime.”

Malaysian police was said to be chasing after them.

The official continued that Seoul was “getting on to the case” for further details. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said in an official statement it “cannot confirm” the news, as did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The source said he did not know why Kim Jong-nam had gone to Malaysia, but was aware that he was in an affair with a woman there and visited Malaysia “constantly.” It is also not known why Kim Jong-un might have ordered the death of his own half-brother.

Kim Jong-nam’s mother is Kim Jong-il’s first wife Sung Hae-rim, one of at least three women the former leader had children with.

Several years ago, he was mentioned in local media to be a potential successor of his father.

In 2008, after Kim Jong-il suffered from a stroke and began preparing to pass on the reign to Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-nam left the North and traveled to several foreign countries in Southeast Asia and also China.

He did not hold any official title in the North Korean government at the point of his death.

BY JEONG YONG-SOO, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]