Kim Jong-nam's body held in Malaysia for autopsy

Malaysian authorities have detained a female suspect in connection with the alleged assassination of North Korean leader's half brother.

Photo by: Reuters Archive
Photo by: Reuters Archive

Kim Jong-nam, estranged from his half-brother North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, lived in Macau under Beijing's protection. February 11, 2007.

Malaysian medical authorities will carry out an autopsy on the body of Kim Jong-nam on Wednesday to ascertain the cause of death of the older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, police said. South Korean authorities suspect a pair of female assassins from North Korea was behind the death.

A female suspect was detained in connection with the ongoing investigation into the alleged assassination, Malaysian police said in a statement.

The woman, holding a Vietnamese passport, detained at Kuala Lumpur airport was identified from CCTV footage at the airport and was alone when she was apprehended, it added.

TRT World's Nafisa Latic reports.

According to early reports, Kim, 46, may have been stabbed with poison-tipped needles or had chemicals sprayed in his face just before he prepared to board a flight to Macau, a Chinese territory, at Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia, on Monday. Kim was known for speaking out against his family's hold on North Korea.

He died on his way to a hospital from the airport, Malaysian police said.

Straight out of Bond?

South Korea’s spy agency suspects two female North Korean agents assassinated Kim in Malaysia, said lawmakers in Seoul on Wednesday. US government sources also said they believed that North Korean assassins had killed Kim.

According to South Korean intelligence, Kim Jong-un, the young, unpredictable North Korean leader, had issued a "standing order" for his half-brother's assassination. There had been a failed attempt in 2012 to kill Kim, the lawmakers said.

Kim had been at Kuala Lumpur airport's low-cost terminal when someone grabbed or held his's face from behind, after which he felt dizzy and sought help, Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat said.

Kim had been living with his second wife in the Chinese territory of Macau, under Beijing's protection, the lawmakers said.

Travelling under a fake name

Malaysian police said he held a passport under the name Kim Chol.

Kim was known to spend a significant amount of time outside North Korea, travelling in Macau and Hong Kong as well as mainland China. He had been caught in the past using forged travel documents.

TRT World speaks to Ralph Cossa, President of US think tank Pacific Forum. 

TRTWorld and agencies