A video of a man describing himself as the son of assassinated North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam emerged on Tuesday, apparently the first time a family member has spoken about the alleged murder.
The video was uploaded to the YouTube page of previously unknown group, Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD), which claimed to have "extracted" vulnerable members of Kim's family with the help of the Dutch, US and South Korean authorities, and were keeping them under protection at an undisclosed location.
The development comes as tension continues to escalate over the alleged assassination on February 13 in Kuala Lumpur of a man thought to be Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Two women are accused of murdering Kim at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, using VX, a nerve agent the UN lists as a banned weapon of mass destruction.
In the video, the man speaking in English says, "My name is Kim Han-sol, from North Korea, part of the Kim family.
"My father has been killed a few days ago. I'm currently with my mother and my sister. We are very grateful to..." he says, before the audio cuts off and his mouth movements are blacked out.
Han-sol, 21, is believed to have graduated from the Sciences Po (Paris Institute of Political Studies) and had been living in exile with his parents in the Chinese territory of Macau before he disappeared with his mother and sister following his father's death.
DNA sample needed to formally identify Kim
South Korea's intelligence agency confirmed the identity of the individual in the video.
"The man is indeed Kim Han-sol," a spokesman for the National Intelligence Service said.
On its website - registered only on Saturday - CCD said that it was protecting Kim's family.
Malaysia has yet to formally identify the dead man as Kim Jong-nam or release the body, with police saying they are waiting for the next-of-kin to come forward and provide a DNA sample.
North Korea acknowledges that the dead man is a North Korean national, but maintains that it is not Kim, and that the deceased probably died of a heart attack and not VX poisoning.
South Korea and the US are accusing Pyongyang of ordering the hit on Kim.
No plans to cut ties
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday said his country has no plans to cut diplomatic ties with North Korea following a rise in tensions that led to reciprocal travel bans,
North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving the country on Tuesday, sparking tit-for-tat action with Malaysia in a growing row over the alleged murder.
"We are a country that's friendly to them [North Korea]," Razak told parliament.
TRT World's Joseph Kim has more details from South Korea's capital, Seoul.