New details on the killing of the half brother of the North Korean supremo Kim Jong Un are now out and they are totally different from what was assumed in the first place by the Malaysian authorities.
Kim Jong Nam died Monday after suddenly falling ill at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, said a senior Malaysian government official, who obviously spoke to the media on condition of anonymity.
It now said Kim, who died on the way to a hospital, told medical workers that he had been attacked with a chemical spray, the official said.
Malaysian officials have provided few other details. Police said an autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death.
The chunk of information on the killing and the identity of the person came from South Korea, the rival of the North Koreans.
South Korea’s spy service said Wednesday that North Korea had been trying for five years to kill Kim.
North Korean agents have reportedly tried to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in the past.
Kim Jong Nam had been less outspoken since 2011, when North Korean assassins reportedly tried to shoot him in Macau.
The details of the attempted killing are murky but South Korea also reportedly jailed a North Korean spy in 2012 who admitted to trying to organize a hit-and-run accident targeting Kim Jong Nam in China in 2010.
But the South Korean National Intelligence Service did not definitively say that North Korea was behind the killing, just that it was presumed to be a North Korean operation, according to lawmakers who briefed reporters about the closed door meeting with the spy officials, said news agencies.
The NIS cited Kim Jong Un’s alleged “paranoia” about his half brother.
Still, the South Korean agency has a history of botching intelligence on North Korea and has long sought to portray the country’s leaders as mentally unstable.
Multiple South Korean media reports, citing unidentified sources, said Kim Jong Nam was killed at the airport by two women believed to be North Korean agents.
They fled in a taxi and were being sought by Malaysian police, the reports said.
One of the women, carrying a Vietnamese passport, was arrested on Wednesday by the Malaysian police.
Police were searching for clues in the closed circuit television footage from the airport, said Selangor police chief Abdul Samah Mat. The airport is in Selangor, near Kuala Lumpur.
According to the Malaysian government official, Kim Jong Nam was in a shopping concourse and had not yet gone through security for a planned flight to Macau when the incident occurred.