The elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was killed in Malaysia this week in an apparent assassination, according to multiple reports.
Kim Jong Nam was killed on Monday morning, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unidentified South Korean government source.
Malaysian authorities told Reuters on Tuesday that a North Korean man had died on the way to a hospital from Kuala Lumpur airport on Monday. Officials did not immediately confirm his identity, but an employee at an emergency ward at Putrajaya hospital “said a deceased Korean there was born in 1970 and surnamed Kim,” Reuters reported.
South Korean cable television network TV Chosun reported that a pair of women attacked Kim Jong Nam on Monday with poisoned needles at Kuala Lumpur airport. The TV network did not identify its source.
The women fled from the airport in a taxi and remained at large Tuesday, TV Chosun reported.
South Korean intelligence agencies were not immediately able to confirm the report, according to The New York Times.
Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un had different mothers and were sons of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The former leader died in 2011.
Kim Jong Nam was once considered Kim Jong Il’s heir before a scandal broke in 2001 that is believed to have “hobbled his chances,” The New York Times reported. He was caught that year trying to take his son to Tokyo Disneyland in Japan while using a fake visa, according to the newspaper.
He was deported to China and estranged from his family.
He was believed to be close to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, according to Reuters. Jang was a leading figure in North Korea before he was executed on Kim Jong Un’s orders in 2013 for planning a military coup.