Kim Jong-un's brother dies after 'poison sprayed in his face'
IT HAS all the ingredients of an outlandish spy thriller: a secretive dictator, his playboy half-brother, and a supposed pair of female assassins.
At the centre of the plot is Kim Jong-nam, the older half-brother of Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader.
Last night the 46-year-old playboy was believed to have been murdered on the orders of his younger half-brother, who is said to live in fear of being overthrown by his family members.
Kim Jong-nam, who has frequently spoken out publicly against his family's dynastic control of the isolated state, was waiting to board a plane at Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia on Monday morning when his killers struck.
He complained to staff at the airport that his face had been sprayed while he was in the shopping concourse before boarding a flight to take him to Macau.
He was in "extreme pain", Abdul Samah Mat, the police chief of Malaysia's Selangor state said. "Kim Jong-nam told staff that his face was feeling extremely painful because of an unidentified liquid sprayed at him. He was then taken for treatment at KLIA [Kuala Lumpur international airport] clinic."
Earlier reports in South Korea media claimed Kim Jong-nam died after being jabbed with a poisoned needle by two female spies at the airport.
Shortly after he was attacked, Kim Jong-nam collapsed and was taken to a local hospital where he died.
A passport found on his body identified him as "Kim Chol", according to Malaysian police. Kim Jong-nam is known to have used forged passports to travel abroad in the past. Mohmad Salleh, the Malaysian CID director, said: "Police have classified the death of Kim Jong-nam as sudden death and are waiting for the full postmortem report to decide further action."
Kim Jong-nam was once considered the heir apparent to Kim Jong-il, but fell out of favour in 2001 after being arrested at Tokyo's Narita airport after trying to enter Japan on a forged Dominican Republic passport.
He told police that he had wanted to visit Disneyland with his family.
Exiled by his father, he lived in Macau, China, until Kim Jong-il died in late 2011. He subsequently went into hiding, apparently out of fear that his half-brother saw him as a threat to the legitimacy of his own regime.
North Korean spies allegedly attempted to kill Kim Jong-nam in Macau in 2011. A bloody shootout with his bodyguards reportedly ensued, but he managed to escape.