Kim Jong Un's Brother Killed At Malaysian Airport

Police in Malaysia were checking airport surveillance video for clues about the death of Kim Jong Nam as news of the killing rippled across Asia on Wednesday.

Malaysian authorities say they have detained a woman in the suspicious death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam.

Kim had been at the airport's low-priced terminal to catch a flight to Macau on Monday, when someone grabbed or held Kim's face from behind, after which he felt dizzy and sought help, Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters.

Kim Jong Nam was known to spend a significant amount of time outside North Korea, travelling in Macau and Hong Kong as well as mainland China, and has been caught in the past using forged travel documents.

Following the arrest, the taxi driver had told police that the women identified themselves as Vietnamese.

He was living with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau under Beijing's protection. Kim Jong Nam may have become more vulnerable, as his defender in the North Korean hierarchy, Kim Kyong Hui - Kim Jong Un's aunt and the wife of his executed uncle - appears to have fallen from favour or died.

His body has now been released from hospital ahead of an expected post-mortem. Although there was scant evidence that Kim Jong Nam was plotting against the North Korean leader, he provided an alternative for North Koreans who would want to depose his half brother.

In interviews with a Japanese journalist, Jong-nam roundly criticized the regime, and there were intelligence reports that state security raided the homes and offices of officials in Pyongyang who were loyal to Jong-nam.

The portly 45-year-old had some kind of liquid sprayed in his face after being set upon by two women, Malaysian police have said.

In the 1990s, he was responsible for selling North Korean missiles overseas, but that role more or less ended when the US froze any revenues he made.

A man watches a television showing news reports of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, in Seoul on Tuesday. It's unclear what positon he has in the North Korean government.

However it didn't take long for fingers to be pointed at North Korea.

Numerous North Korean officials have been purged or killed since Kim Jong-un took power following his father's death in 2011. Those include his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was considered the country's second most-powerful person and was believed to have been close to Kim Jong Nam, who he had helped raise. The South's government has said the North also executed a vice premier for education in 2016 for unspecified anti-revolutionary and factional acts, and a defense minister in 2015 for treason.

Kim Jong-nam was educated in Moscow and Switzerland and didn't even meet his grandfather, North Korea's founding President Kim Il-Sung, until he was five years old. Kim said he often visited the mother's grave in Moscow.

"It does not serve Kim Jong Un's political interests to have Jong Nam assassinated", he said.

  • Leroy Wright