The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was assassinated on Monday at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport, according to South Korean media outlets citing government sources.
Kim Jong Nam, the first-born son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, was sprayed with poison by two unidentified women who fled the scene in a taxi, according to the reports.
Malaysian police said in a statement today that a 46-year-old North Korean man “who sought initial medical assistance at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport” died on Monday en route to the hospital.
The police said that the man’s travel document identified him as “Kim Chol,” a North Korean born on June 10, 1970. Kim Chol is the name of another brother of Kim Jong Un, although South Korean government officials told South Korean media that the name in the passport was an alias for Kim Jong Nam.
The State Department told ABC News it was aware of the reports and referred questions about the death to Malaysian authorities. The South Korean embassy in Washington told ABC News it did not have independent confirmation, but was monitoring press coverage.
Many feared that Kim could be assassinated after Kim Jong Un took office in April 2012. A fierce rivalry between the two half-brothers ran deep due to succession conflicts. Kim Jong Nam, as the eldest son in the family, had long been expected to rule North Korea after Kim Jong Il’s death, backed by the Communist Party seniors including Jang Sung Taek.
Jang, the uncle of two rival brothers, was considered number two in power, but was brutally executed a year after Kim Jong Un took power.
“North Korea is a society where you will be easily executed, not because of your difference in political reasons, but because of simple reasons, that you angered Kim Jong Un,” said Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean diplomat and the highest level official to have defected to South Korea in two decades.
“North Korean society is just the reign of terror.”
Kim Jong Nam reportedly fell out of favor in Pyongyang after being caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001. He said he was heading to Tokyo Disneyland with his family. Since then, Kim has been in exile moving discreetly around several countries including China, Macao, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. His son, Kim Han Sol, was recently enrolled at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, according to South Korean media.
The two brothers have never met in person, according to North Korea analysts in Seoul. But Kim Jong Un has always regarded the outspoken Kim Jong Nam as a potential political threat.
For instance, Kim Jong Un has been building up his personal image after their late grandfather and founder of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, to win popularity from the people and to justify the unforeseen power succession. The late Kim Il Sung is still revered by the people as the pillar of the nation. From the moment he was he began appearing in public, Kim Jong Un has emphasized striking similarities with his grandfather like gaining weight, wearing the same eyeglasses and even having an identical haircut. But it was the elder brother, Kim Jong Nam, who grew up close to their grandfather.
The fact that Kim Jong Nam was born to the first legitimate wife of late Kim Jong Il also took a toll on Kim Jong Un. The current leader’s birth mother was the third wife, Koh Yong Hee, who came from a family that had defected from North Korea to Japan, which is looked down upon in a country where generations of continued loyalty to the regime is essential.
**UPDATE*** THE WOMAN WHO KILLED HIM HAS BEEN CAUGHT..PIC BELOW