Kim Jong-un's half-brother 'assassinated with poisoned needles at airport'

  • Kim Jong-un's half-brother 'assassinated with poisoned needles at airport'

Kim Jong-un's half-brother 'assassinated with poisoned needles at airport'

Kim Jong Nam drew global attention in 2001 when he was arrested in Japan while attempting to visit Tokyo Disneyland with his son on a fake Dominican Republic passport. Jong-nam's death comes two days before Kim Jong-il's birthday anniversary, which is on Thursday.

Airport authorities rushed him to hospital and he died on the way, the police chief said. That surely seems like an understatement after the apparent murder of Kim Jong-nam, the older ne'er-do-well half-brother of the current dictator Kim Jong-un.

In October 2010, the day before Kim Jong Un was announced as their father's successor, Kim Jong Nam told Japan's Asahi TV that he was opposed to third-generation succession. He was upset when his half-brother was picked over him to rule North Korea but had kept mostly silent on politics since Kim Jong Un actually took power. North Korea does have a history of sending agents overseas to perform kidnappings, attacks, and assassinations, the BBC reports.

In October 2012 South Korean prosecutors said a North Korean detained as a spy had admitted involvement in a plot to stage a hit-and-run auto accident in China in 2010 targeting him. Some analysts suggest that Kim Jong-il instead chose to groom Jong-un for succession after his 2008 stroke because he favored his younger son's mother, Ko Young-hee.

China had been supporting Kim Jong Nam financially for many years because in the event of Kim Jong Un's death, North Koreans, indoctrinated for more than six decades to venerate the Kim family, would look to Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, to step in as leader, according to Kang Chunnu, 61, a writer living in Britain.

North Korea is now locked in showdowns with the West and its allies over its nuclear program and ballistic missile tests, but faces possible strains with its key patron China.

In a statement, Malaysian police said the dead man, aged 46, held a passport under the name Kim Chol and was travelling under false documents.

Two US officials said the launch was the first land-based test of an intermediate-range missile.

He died en route to hospital from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, police told Malaysian media.

Kim Jong-nam was killed at Kuala Lumpur airport after being attacked by two women with "poisoned needles", according to local TV reports. For now, Malaysian police classified it as a case of "sudden death" and are awaiting autopsy results to decide further action, a Malaysian police official told the Telegraph.

North Korean defections have also led to assassination attempts.

Malaysia has been a hotbed of North Korean intrigue.

In 2013, Kim Jong-un famously had his uncle Jang Song-thaek dismissed from government and executed. Kim Jong-un is thought to have presided over several high-profile purges, including executions, since he became leader. But it's widely believed Kim Jong-Un saw his older half-brother as a threat to the regime.