PETALING JAYA: Global news agencies went on overdrive yesterday on the death of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North-Korean leader Kim Jong Un, speculating over why, how and even what had killed him at klia2.
Jong Nam’s death made prime news in major news agencies worldwide, including The Channel News Asia, Reuters and CNBC, which reported that he was poisoned by two North Korean women operatives who are still at large in Malaysia.
News agencies Mail Online and Telegraph reported that Jong Nam was “assassinated” by two women, while The Telegraph said the two women were spies who had used poisoned needles to kill Jong Nam.
Mail Online pointed out that Jong Nam’s death is the highest profile death under the Jong Un regime since the execution of the leader’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, in December 2013.
The Star also reported of bizarre speculation, with an an online news agency called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a satire site, claiming that Jong Nam had died from “unsanitary food practices” by Malaysians.
“Indigestion epidemic in Malaysia claims life of esteemed Kim Jong Nam. Unsanitary food practices of filthy Malaysian people is blamed,” it said on its twitter account DPRK news service.
Daily Mail and The Sun UK highlighted reports that Jong Nam was a “playboy”. However, the news reports themselves did not elaborate on why he was labelled such.
Malaysian police said yesterday they were waiting for the post-mortem results to determine the cause of death.
Jong Nam was at klia2 on Monday morning to catch a flight to Macau when he was allegedly “attacked” by two women who covered his face with a piece of cloth containing a liquid.
He complained of feeling ill to a klia2 receptionist who called for an ambulance, but died en route to the Putrajaya Hospital.
Malaysian police are now looking for two fair-skinned women to assist in the investigations. It was reported that the two were seen leaving the airport in a cab.
Reports also surfaced yesterday that Kim Jong Nam fell from favour from the ruling family after he was caught trying to sneak a visit to Tokyo Disneyland using a forged document in 2001.
CNN reported that it was not clear when he left North Korea, but Kim Jong Nam spent time living in Macau and China and was absent from his father’s funeral in 2011, fuelling earlier rumours that he had been banished from the country.
Kim was an overweight and careless playboy, but also a smart and open-minded man who was willing to speak out against the family, according to Yoji Gomi, the author of the 2012 book “My Father, Kim Jong Il, and Me”, CNN reported.
“He spoke out against his father’s ‘military first’ policy,” Gomi told CNN in 2012. “He wants North Korea to embrace economic reform and open its doors.” – FMT