North Korean President’s Brother “Assassinated”

Kim Jong-Nam, half brother of North Korea's President, Kim Jong-Un
Kim Jong-Nam, half brother of North Korea’s President, Kim Jong-Un

The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been killed in Malaysia, South Korean and Malaysian sources say.

45-year old Kim Jong-Nam is said to have been targeted at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.

A source close to the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office told journalists that Kim was killed in the city, saying his body was now undergoing an autopsy.

Kim Jong-Nam was the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

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Malaysian police have confirmed to the Reuters news agency that a North Korean man who died in transit to hospital from the airport on Monday was Kim.

According to a report from South Korea, Kim was poisoned at the airport by two women, believed to be North Korean operatives.

A UK source with close ties to the Kim family also told the BBC that poison had been involved in the death.

Once seen as a likely successor to Kim Jong-il, the deceased was thought to have fallen out of favour with his father in 2001, after he was caught trying to enter Japan using a false passport. He told officials that he was planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

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Bypassed in favour of his youngest half-brother for succession when their father died in 2011, Kim Jong-Nam kept a low profile, spending most of his time overseas in Macau, Singapore and China.

He was quoted by Japanese media in 2011 as saying he opposed “dynastic succession”.

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He was also quoted in a 2012 book as saying he believed his younger half-brother lacked leadership qualities, that succession would not work and that North Korea was unstable and needed Chinese-style economic reform.

Kim was reportedly targeted for assassination in the past. A North Korean spy jailed by South Korea in 2012 was reported to have admitted trying to organise a hit-and-run accident targeting him.