Malaysia confirms death of Kim Jung-un's half-brother

Ryomyong Street North Korea is inspected by Kim Jong-un centre

A South Korean government official said that Kim Jong Nam was killed Monday, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The details from news reports about the assassination of Kim Jong-nam sound like they're straight out of an worldwide spy thriller.

Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un have the same father, late dictator Kim Jong Il, but different mothers. Kim Jong-nam had already survived an assassination attempt in 2011, in Macau.

However, Kim Jong Nam fell from favor with his father in 2001. "He wants North Korea to embrace economic reform and open its doors".

Jong-nam is survived by his son, Kim Han-sol, who is now a college student in France and has been under police protection since 2013. "He thinks [Kim Jong Un] has a lack of experience".

Kim Jong-nam was born from his father's non-marital relationship with Sung Hae-rim, a South Korean-born actress who died in Moscow.

Kim Kyung-jin, a spokesman for the progressive People's Party, said efforts should be made to avoid escalating tensions in the region. The older brother had spoken out against his younger brother's leadership in the country.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 26, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) inspecting housing blocks at a construction site at Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang.

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Meanwhile Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed when contacted by Bernama last night said Malaysian police were investigating the case. 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.

A sick Korean man was brought to the attention of airport authorities, who they then rushed to the hospital.

Ahmat also told Reuters that "the deceased ... felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind ..."

The Argumenty i Fakty weekly said he was kicked out of a luxury hotel in Macau over a US$15,000 debt.

Kim Jong-nam may have invited his half-brother's ire by criticizing him publicly. Pyongyang has been blamed for numerous attacks against defectors and critics overseas, including the 1974 assassination attempt against South Korean leader Park Chung-hee (whose wife was killed instead) and the 1987 bombing of a Korean airliner by a female North Korean agent. Agents on behalf of the North Korean government have targeted defectors with poisoned needles in the past, although the details of Kim's death remain unknown.

USA authorities have not yet determined exactly how Kim Jong Nam was killed, according to a U.S. source. "He was originally going to succeed Kim Jong Il. Certainly the North Koreans had plenty of motives".

News emerged in 2013 that Kim's uncle had been executed - on claims that he had tried to usurp Kim and overthrow the state, CBS News writes. 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.

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