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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, August 16, 2018

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s half-brother killed at Malaysian airport, all eyes on Pyongyang

In daring plot

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - New details emerged on Wednesday in one of the most daring assassination plots after South Korea's spy agency confirmed Kim Jong Nam, the estranged 46-year-old half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, was killed by poison at a Malaysian airport.> BNN

However, the agency did not say if a needle was used to administer the fatal dose. Two Asian women are believed to be involved in the assassination.

According to reports, a woman attacked Kim from behind and covered his face with a cloth. 

He reportedly told medical staff before he died, another woman then used a chemical spray.

Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat said the incident occurred at about 1200 AEDT on Monday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, about an hour before he was due to board a flight to Macau.

"He told the receptionist at the departure hall that someone had grabbed his face from behind and splashed some liquid on him," Fadzil said.

"He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport's clinic. At this point, he was experiencing headache and was on the verge of passing out."

He then had a seizure and died while being transported to a nearby hospital, Fadzil said.

The police in Malaysia were checking airport surveillance video for clues on the daring assassination.

"Investigation is in progress and a post-mortem examination request has been made to ascertain the cause of death," the police said.

According to Lee Byung Ho, director of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, Pyongyang has been attempting to assassinate Kim Jong Nam for the past five years. 

If this is confirmed, it would be most high-profile death under the isolated dictator's regime since the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek in December 2013.

Other bizarre executions in recent years have been of the country's defense minister Hyon Yong-chol (April 2015) who angered the North Korean dictator when he was found dozing off during a meeting, vice premier Kim Yong Jin (August 2016) for being an “anti-party and a counter-revolutionary member", vice premier Choe Yong-gon (May 2015) for expressing discomfort with the forestation policy of Kim and 10 members of the ruling Workers’ party who were executed for watching South Korean TV soaps. (October 2014).

Kim Jong Nam, who had been living outside North Korea for several years, had been critical of Kim Jong Un, reportedly saying in 2012 that he “won’t last long” because of his youth and inexperience. 

The two brothers have different mothers.

According to Lee Cheol-woo, chairman of the intelligence committee in South Korea’s parliament, the mercurial dictator had a “standing order” to kill Kim Jong Nam since he took power in 2011.

“We should take this as an action that reflects Jong Un’s paranoia,” Lee said. 

“Normal citizens in the North aren’t aware of Jong Nam’s existence, and it is only elite there who knows about him. The elite should have been shocked.”

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is also acting president, told a security meeting, "If the murder of Kim Jong Nam was confirmed to be committed by the North Korean regime, that would clearly depict the brutality and inhumanity of the Kim Jong Un regime." 

Other notable assassinations or attempts under Kim and his father were the 1968 attempt on then-South Korean president Park Chung-hee, the 1983 Rangoon bombing which was an attempt on the life of then-South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, the 1996 killing of Choi Duk-keun, a South Korean diplomat stationed in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok, and the 1997 killing of a member of the extended Kim family.

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