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North Korean leader's half-brother 'assassinated' in Malaysia

Kim Jong Nam (L) is the half-brother of North Korean leader, Kim Jon Un (R) - AP

Kim Jong Nam (L) is the half-brother of North Korean leader, Kim Jon Un (R) - AP

15/02/2017 07:41

(Vatican Radio)  The half-brother of North Korea's leader has apparently been assassinated. A critic of the North Korean regime, Kim Jong Nam lived in exile.

Listen to Alastair Wanklyn' report:

Kim Jong Nam was at an airport in Malaysia when two attackers stabbed him with what appeared to be a poisoned needle. He died on the way to hospital. That's according to reports citing Malaysian police and the South Korean government.

Kim was the older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He largely lived in exile, after apparently embarrassing the ruling family when he was caught trying to enter Japan with a forged passport.

He was an English-speaker who would talk to journalists, offering a human face of North Korea's reclusive ruling family.

He was also a critic of the regime. When his father, leader Kim Jong Il died, he told reporters he opposed dynastic succession.

There is no comment from North Korea, and some analysts say it's unclear why Kim Jong Nam would be targeted for assassination as he posed no immediate challenge to the leadership.

But North Korea has perhaps the world's worst human rights record. Activists say there next to no freedom of religion, and the nation imprisons or executes people for minor challenges to the state.

Several members of the ruling family have been killed, including just over three years ago the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, South Korea's government said it will check on security for high-risk people living there. A spokesman said North Korean defectors and others involved in North-South dialogue should be extra vigilant from now on.

15/02/2017 07:41