Malaysian police arrested a woman today in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's exiled half brother who South Korean spies say once begged his sibling to spare his life.
A TV screen shows a picture of Kim Jong Nam, the older brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.
Source: Associated Press
The astonishing killing, which reportedly came at the hands of two female assassins, set off waves of speculation over whether North Korea had dispatched a hit squad to kill a man known for his drinking, gambling and complicated family life.
Kim Jong Nam, who was 45 or 46, was estranged from his younger brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and had been living abroad for years.
He reportedly fell out of favour when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport in 2001, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
According to two senior Malaysian government the elder Kim died en route to a hospital yesterday after suddenly falling ill at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
He told medical workers before he died that he had been attacked with a chemical spray, the Malaysian officials said.
Multiple South Korean media reports, citing unidentified sources, said two women believed to be North Korean agents killed him with some kind of poison before fleeing in a taxi.
Malaysia started an autopsy overnight to determine the cause of death.
But a Malaysian government official, who also demanded anonymity because of the case's sensitivity, said North Korea objected to the procedure because they wanted the body back.
But the Malaysian official said the autopsy was still continuing.
Also yesterday, Malaysian police arrested a woman carrying Vietnamese travel documents bearing the name Doan Thi Huong at the Kuala Lumpur airport budget terminal, where Kim Jong Nam was attacked.
It was not immediately clear whether the passport was genuine.
She was identified using earlier surveillance video from the airport, police said.