Monday 23 April 2018

Kim Jong-il's eldest son suffering from financial problems

Kim Jong-nam the eldest son of the late Kim Jong-il. Photo: Getty Images
Kim Jong-nam the eldest son of the late Kim Jong-il. Photo: Getty Images

THE ELDEST son of North Korea's late leader Kim Jong-il is having financial problems after being cut off by the Stalinist state for doubting his country's succession policy, a Moscow newspaper said on Friday.

The Argumenty i Fakty weekly said in its internet addition that Kim Jong-nam was recently kicked out of a luxury hotel in the Chinese gambling mecca of Macau over a $15,000 debt.

It cited Macau administration sources as saying that the eldest Kim – seen as the likely successor until being caught entering Japan on a fake passport in 2001 – had lived a luxurious lifestyle that included gambling and dinners at exclusive restaurants.

But a source at the prestigious Grand Lapa Hotel that Jong-nam reportedly frequented told the paper that the eldest Kim was recently expelled from his 17th-floor room because of a cancelled credit card.

"He gave us his Visa Gold card but it ended up having no money" on the account, the mass-circulated paper quoted an unnamed source at the hotel as saying.

Argumenty i Fakty speculated that Jong-nam's latest problems began when he told Japan's Tokyo Shimbun newspaper in January that his father had been opposed to a third-generation succession.

"(Heredity succession) does not fit socialism and my father was against it," he was quoted as saying at the time.

The late Kim handed over power to 40-year-old Jong-nam's younger half-brother Kim Jong-un upon his death in December.

"It looks like the Politburo has decided to punish the 'Communist playboy' and stopped sending him money," Argumenty i Fakty quoted The Macau Post Daily director Harald Bruning as saying.

The weekly cited an unnamed Macau administration as saying that the local authorities were generally nervous about the eldest son's presence in the region.

"Who knows what might happen to him. What if there is an assassination attempt against him, a blast or a contract killing? We do not need problems."

The same official said Jong-nam's luxury apartment that he rented for his wife was paid for by the Chinese secret service while his spending money came primarily from North Korea.

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