Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother reported murdered in Malaysia

A USA government source believed North Korea agents were responsible but did not provide evidence for that conclusion, and also said it was possible that Kim Jong Nam had been poisoned.

Said Mr Fadzil: "He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport's clinic".

A grainy image broadcast in South Korea and Malaysia shows a woman wearing a white T-shirt with the letters "LOL" written on the front.

The 29-year-old suspect was carrying a Vietnamese passport under the name of Doan Thi Huong.

The analyst said that such reports seek to put the focus on China-North Korea relations, because of a theory that Kim Jong-nam was seen by Beijing as an alternative North Korean leader.

They then instructed her to spray the victim, Jong Nam, with a type of liquid.

South Korea also reportedly jailed a North Korean spy in 2012 who admitted to trying to organise a hit-and-run accident targeting Kim Jong Nam in China in 2010.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, on Monday issued a statement to the Security Council saying it's "time to hold North Korea accountable, not with our words, but with our actions".

A post mortem on Mr Kim's body was completed yesterday evening despite objections from North Korean officials in Malaysia, Malaysian government sources said.

Some question whether Kim Jong Nam really posed any threat to Kim Jong Un.

Kim Jong-Nam was once considered heir apparent but fell out of favour with his father Kim Jong-Il following a botched attempt in 2001 to enter Japan on a forged passport and visit Disneyland. "Investigation is in progress and a postmortem examination request has been made to ascertain the cause of death", an earlier statement said.

Reuters reported that Malaysian police have said an unidentified North Korean man died on the way to hospital from the airport. The 45-year-old, who studied in Moscow and Geneva, said he "personally opposed" the hereditary power transfer in his own family.

Malaysian officials have provided few other details.

About the only claim to power that Kim Jong Nam had was being the son of Kim Jong Il, and that apparently was sufficient to ensure that the standing order to kill Kim Jong Nam was not lifted.

South Korean intelligence officials claimed the regime had been planning his assassination for five years, but did not explain why they thought that was the case. "We do not know his identity", Abdul said. Spy officials offered a single, shaky motive for the death: Kim Jong Un's "paranoia" over his estranged half brother, Associated Press reports.

Kim Jong-nam was reportedly poisoned to death by two women assassins at the Malaysian airport on Monday.

Kim Jong Nam was tipped as a successor to his father Kim Jong Il, but lost out to his younger brother.

In an interview with Finnish TV in 2012, Kim Jong Nam's son Kim Han-sol expressed regret about North Korea's human rights and called for the reunification of the Peninsula.

  • Larry Hoffman