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Half-brother of North Korea's leader reportedly assassinated in Malaysia

15 February 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's brother has been assassinated at an airport in Malaysia, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap News.

Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, had told airport officials that he felt "dizzy", shortly before he died on Monday. When his condition didn't improve, he was taken in an ambulance to a hospital. TV Chosun, citing unidentified "multiple government sources", said the women were believed to be North Korean agents and used poison needles to kill Kim.

Malaysian police say they are expanding their investigation to "find the culprits" of the attack. The source was also quoted as saying US authorities have not yet determined exactly how Kim Jong-nam was killed.

As the oldest of Kim Jong Il's three sons, Kim Jong Nam was over the dynasty upon the death of their father, Kim Jong Il. Emails revealed in a 2012 book about Kim that he opposed North Korea's hereditary transfers of power and had doubts about his younger half-brother's ability to govern. The two were once rumored to have plotted to overthrow Kim Jong Un with China's help. But he reportedly fell out of favour after embarrassing the North Korean government when caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo's Disneyland, in 2001.

"It seems probable that the motivation for the murder was a continuing sense of paranoia on the part of Kim Jong Un, which may be a well-placed paranoia", Tokola wrote in a commentary Tuesday.

The North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has also requested that Jong-nam's body be released to them.

When his dad died of natural causes in 2011, he went deeper into hiding because he feared that Kim Jong-un would see him as a threat to the nutty narcissist's own leadership of North Korea. Should anything happen to Kim Jong Un, however, there would be very few people who could take his place smoothly. The exact details are, again, murky.

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Kim Jong Nam also once predicted doom for his half brother's rule while talking to reporters from Japan, North Korea's sworn enemy. And the Kim family has a habit of going medieval on family matters who fall out of favor.

If true, his death would be the most high-profile case of this sort of incident since the current leader's once-powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek was executed in late 2013 on treason charges.

Jong Nam's mother, Song Hye Rim, was Kim Jong Il's first wife (or "wife"; it's unclear as to the precise legal status between the two).

He was known to travel to Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China.

A police report obtained by The Straits Times showed that a Korean man accompanied by an airport staff member approached a police officer at about 9am, saying that he was attacked with a unsafe liquid by two unknown women.

What about the suspects? .

Half-brother of North Korea's leader reportedly assassinated in Malaysia