Kim Jong-nam, North Korea's one-time heir apparent - obituary

South Korea's prime minister will preside over a national security council meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss the suspected murder of the North Korean leader's estranged half-brother in Malaysia, his office said.

Detectives are still investigating the cause of death and a post mortem is due to take place later.

Sources familiar with the stand-off said that Malaysian authorities however stood their ground and refused to accede to the request. It's unclear whether the documents were genuine.

They were identified from CCTV footage in the airport before they fled in a taxi.

The image showed a young female, carrying a bag and wearing a white jumper that said "LOL" in large black print across the front. Malaysian police said that they're now hunting for additional suspects in the case, although they've released few details about who they are.

Local police said that the woman was arrested at the airport in the capital Kuala Lumpur where Kim Jong-nam was targeted in an apparent poisoning on Monday. Kim Jong Nam had been living under Beijing's protection with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau. We don't know if there was a cloth or needles. But he had been publicly critical of his half-brother - possibly making him a threat in the supreme leader's mind, Tokola said.

Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of former dictator Kim Jong Il, fell out of favor with his father after he was caught trying to enter Japan using a fake Dominican Republic passport in 2001, according to Japanese reporter Yoji Gomi, who wrote a book about him.

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

If North Korea was behind the killing, Tokola said, it could influence the nation's relationship with China.

The most obvious suspect is the North Korean government but there is little proof yet.

The assassination was the highest-profile death under the Kim Jong-un regime since the execution of the leader's uncle Jang Song-thaek in December 2013.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Nam had sent a letter to his brother that he had "nowhere to run and hide" and asked for mercy.

Although Kim had been tipped by some outsiders as a possible successor to his father, others thought that was unlikely because he lived outside the country, including recently in Macau, Singapore and Malaysia.

The head of Kuala Lumpur Hospital's forensics department, Mohamad Shah Mahmood, was taking part in the autopsy, according to AFP.

Ken Gause, from the CNA think tank in Washington, has studied North Korea's leadership for 30 years and said Kim Chol was a name that Kim Jong-nam had travelled under.

Kim Jong-Nam, who is said to have adored casinos and a lavish lifestyle, once spoke out against his younger brother ruling the nuclear country.

It is widely speculated that Kim Jong Un felt threatened by his older brother, who had criticized the regime from afar.

  • Leroy Wright