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

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two unidentified women, believed to be North Korean agents, attacked Mr Kim with poisoned needles before fleeing in a taxi, South Korean cable channel TV Chosun reported yesterday, citing a government source.

Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, does not hold an official title and has played no part in running North Korea.

Reports involving the secretive North Korean leadership often prove untrue or exaggerated. Kim Jong Nam was close to Jang Song Thaek, a key official executed in 2013. The subsequent fallout from that incident led to Kim Jong-un's grooming to take over for the Dear Leader.

Jong-Nam´s half-brother Jong-Un took over as North Korean leader when their father died in December 2011.

Last year South Korea warned of possible North Korean assassination attempts in its territory.

Kim Jong-nam is the oldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Song Hye-rim, one of the elder Kim's mistresses who was South Korean-born. But it's widely believed Kim Jong-Un saw his older half-brother as a threat to the regime.

The source said the man's identify has not been verified. He told police that he and his family were on their way to Tokyo's Disneyland. Much of the news reported about North Korea-while not quite "fake news"-ends up being wrong".

As a result, Kim Jong Nam was raised mostly overseas, and Kim Jong Il reportedly believed he had become too westernized.

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Kim Jong Nam has been described as a "playboy" and also reportedly told Japanese broadcaster Asahi in 2011 that he had reservations about North Korea's hereditary transfer of power.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for South Korea's governing Liberty Korea Party, Kim Myung-yeon, issued a statement saying that the killing was a "naked example of Kim Jong-un's reign of terror".

Why would Kim Jong-Un want to assassinate his half-brother?

These details come after the South Korean news agency Yonhap and other media outlets in the country reported that Kim Jong-Nam had been assassinated, CBS notes.

In Malaysia, the police chief in charge of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Assistant Commissioner Abdul Aziz Ali, told AFP a Korean in his forties was found sick at the airport on Monday.

In Washington, the State Department said it was aware of reports of Kim Jong Nam's death but declined to comment, referring questions to Malaysian authorities.

With Kim Jong Nam out of the picture, you might assume that Kim Jong Chul, the middle son, would be the natural choice for a new heir. In any case, Kim Jong Un has been known to be ruthless about potential rivals, even within his own family.

He said multiple times that he had no interest in leading his country.

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