Kim Jong Un's half brother murdered with poison, South Korea says

A 28-year-old woman carrying a Vietnamese passport was arrested at a Kuala Lumpur airport yesterday, as Malaysian police continued their investigation into the death of Mr Kim Jong Nam that some say is an assassination carried out by agents of North Korea.

Police were searching for clues in the closed circuit television footage from the airport, said Selangor police chief Abdul Samah Mat.

The South Korean government says it is waiting for the Malaysian police to complete their investigation into the incident, but if it's confirmed that Kim Jong-un ordered his half brother's death, he will be unable to avoid global condemnation. The Malaysian police refuse pending a proper investigation of his death.

There have been conflicting reports about how poison - which a police officer said was "more potent than cyanide" - was administered to Mr Kim.

According to the Malaysian government official, Kim Jong Nam was in a shopping concourse and had not yet gone through security for a planned flight to Macau when the incident occurred. The source gave no further details.

The local newspaper said that four cars belonging to the North Korean embassy left the mortuary compound at 8pm local time. Leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to root out corruption starting late last year and in his New Year's speech this year.

"It seems probable that the motivation for the murder was a continuing sense of paranoia on the part of Kim Jong Un, which may be a well-placed paranoia", Mr Tokola wrote in a commentary overnight.

He was born in 1971 in Pyongyang to former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and an actress mother. The NIS has a history of botching intelligence on North Korea and has long sought to portray the country's leaders as mentally unstable.

He also frequented casinos, five-star hotels and traveled around Asia, with little say in North Korean affairs.

Adding more mystery to the situation is how Malaysia has yet to identify the dead man as Kim Jong-Nam, for he was embarking under the name of Kim Chol. In 2010, he was quoted in Japanese media as saying he opposed dynastic succession in North Korea.

Kim Yong-hyun, professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in South Korea, said Kim Jong Nam could have faced threats from any number of directions. Kim Jong Nam was the eldest, followed by Kim Jong Chul, who is a few years older than Kim Jong Un and is known as a playboy who reportedly attended an Eric Clapton concert in London in 2015.

  • Joey Payne