The half-brother of Kim Jong-Un, the leader of the reclusive regime North Korea, died on Monday at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, according to Malaysian police officials.
Speculations as to how the half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, died have been swirling around in international media. According to the Washington Post, Malaysian police confirmed that Kim was killed, but the method by which he was killed differs depending on the report.
The Washington Post quoted Malaysian police chief Fadzil Ahmat telling the country’s news agency Bernama, “A woman came from behind and covered his face with a cloth laced with a liquid.”
Ahmat also told Reuters that “the deceased … felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind … He felt dizzy, so he asked for help at the … counter of KLIA.”
Meanwhile, the South Korean news agency Chosun reported that Kim was killed with a poison needle, and other South Korean reports say that the murder was perpetrated by two female North Korean agents who fled the scene by taxi.
Most reports agree on the account that Kim sought help at the airport counter, saying that he was feeling ill. However, he died on the way to the hospital.
Mohmad Salleh, the Malaysian Criminal Investigation Department director, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying that the police will “classify this case as a sudden death.”
“We have to wait for the postmortem report to determine the cause of death,” Salleh said.
Kim Jong Nam, the son of Kim Jong Il’s first consort, was known to have lived mostly outside of North Korea, and to have spoken out against passing down the government leadership in the family line. Reports also say that he considered Jang Song Thaek, the uncle who Kim Jong Un publicly executed, his mentor.