Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s Brother: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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In a picture taken on June 4, 2010 Kim Jong-Nam, the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and brother of Kim Jong-un, waves after an interview with South Korean media representatives in Macau. (Getty)

The estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was poisoned to death at an airport in Malaysia on Monday, the BBC reports.

Kim Jong-nam, once believed to be in line to succeed his father, Kim Jong-il, has been living outside of North Korea for about 15 years. Malaysian officials told the BBC that Kim died on the way to a hospital after falling ill before a flight to Macau.

An autopsy was being conducted Tuesday and a cause of death for Kim, 45, has not yet been released.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. He Was Reportedly Assassinated by 2 Female North Korean Agents With Poison Needles


North Korean leader's brother reported killed in MalaysiaSubscribe: smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been killed in Malaysia, according to South Korean government sources. Julian Satterthwaite reports. Subscribe: smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe More Breaking News: smarturl.it/BreakingNews Reuters tells the world's stories like no one else. As the largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters provides coverage around the…2017-02-14T13:37:32.000Z

South Korean media outlets are reporting Kim Jong-nam was poisoned by two female North Korean agents with “poisoned needles,” according to The Guardian.

The British newspaper points out that the report by South Korean media, including Chosun, has not been confirmed, and South Korean reports regarding people believed to be enemies of the North Korean government have been unreliable.

According to The Guardian, police in Kuala Lumpur have only confirmed that Kim died at the airport there.

Mohamed Sallah, a Malaysian police official, told The Telegraph a cause of death is still being determined.

“Kim Jong Nam was feeling unwell on Monday morning while he was waiting for a flight to Macau at KLIA. He was taken to KLIA clinic for further treatment, but because of the condition he was in, he was rushed to Putrajaya hospital, but passed away soon after arriving,” Sallah told the newspaper. “Police have classified the death of Kim Jong Nam as sudden death and are waiting for the full postmortem report to decide further action.”


2. He Is Believed to Have Been Born in 1970 or 1971 & Was the Eldest Son of Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-Nam dressed in an army uniform poses with his maternal grandmother in January 1975 in an unknown place. (Getty)

Kim Jong-Nam dressed in an army uniform poses with his maternal grandmother in January 1975 in an unknown place. (Getty)

Kim Jong-nam is believed to have been born in 1970 or 1971 and was the eldest son of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, according to The Guardian.

His mother was Song Hye-rim, one of three women believed to have had affairs with Kim Jong-il, The Guardian reports.

He was educated at a Japanese school, and had a love for the arts, according to The Telegraph. He also studied in Switzerland.

“My father felt very lonely after sending me to study abroad. Then my half brothers Jong-chol and Jong-un and half sister Yeo-jong were born and his adoration was moved on to them,” he said in 2012, according to Chosun. “And when he felt that I’d turn into a capitalist after living abroad for years, he shortened the overseas education of my brothers and sister.”

He told reporters he never met his younger half-brother, Kim Jong-un.


3. He Went Into Exile After Falling Out With His Father Over a Publicized Attempt to Enter to Japan to Visit Disneyland

Kim Jong-nam in 2004. (Getty)

Kim Jong-nam in 2004. (Getty)

For several years, Kim Jong-nam was believed to be the first in line to succeed his father, Kim Jong-il, as the North Korean dictator.

But he had a falling out with his father in 2001 after a highly publicized incident in Japan, according to the BBC.

In that incident, Kim was caught trying to use a fake passport to enter Japan. He told officials he was planning to visit Disneyland in Tokyo.

He used a Chinese alias that translated to “fat bear,” and embarrassed his father, according to reports.

He left the country in about 2003, and has spent most of his time since then living outside of North Korea. He is believed to have been in Macau, Singapore and China during that time.


4. He Went Into Hiding After His Brother Took Power in North Korea & May Have Had

(Getty)

(Getty)

After his father’s death and the rise to power of his brother, Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-nam went deeper into hiding, The Guardian reports.

He said several times he had no interest in leading his home country, but was also considered to be an advocate for reform, which may have angered his brother.

“Personally I am against third-generation succession,” he told Japan’s Asahi TV in 2010, according to The Guardian. “I hope my younger brother will do his best for the sake of North Koreans’ prosperous lives.”

In 2012, he criticized his brother in an interview with Japanese reporter Yoji Komi, saying he did not believe the regime would last long, according to Chosun.

“Kim Jong-un is still just a nominal figure and the members of the power elite will be the ones in actual power,” he said. “The dynastic succession is a joke to the outside world.”

Kim told the reporter, “Without reforms, North Korea will collapse, and when such changes take place, the regime will collapse. I think we will see valuable time lost as the regime sits idle fretting over whether it should pursue reforms or stick to the present political structure.”

He also called for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and stop missile tests. His death comes just days after North Korea launched a ballistic missile in an apparent test. The missile landed in the Sea of Japan and was launched in the direction of South Korea.

Kim was believed to be close to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was executed under orders of Kim Jong-un in 2013, Reuters reports.

Other attempts have been made on Kim Jong-nam’s life in recent years, according to South Korean reports.


5. He Is Believed to Have Had 2 Wives, a Mistress & Several Children

Kim Jong-nam in 2007. (Getty)

Kim Jong-nam in 2007. (Getty)

Kim Jong-nam was considered to be the only “playboy” member of his powerful family, according to GQ.

According to South Korean media, Kim had two wives, a mistress and several children.

He was known to love gambling and casinos, according to CBS News. He was also known to drink and suffered from gout.

According to Chosun, Kim told a Japanese reporter in 2012 that he was receiving protection from China.

“The Chinese government is protecting me, but it is also monitoring me too. It’s my inevitable fate. If you can’t avoid it, it’s better to enjoy it.” he said. “Because I was educated in the West, I was able to enjoy freedom from early age, and I still love being free. The reason I visit Macau so often is because it’s the most free and liberal place near China, where my family lives.”

He also admitted to his playboy ways.

“I don’t deny my philandering habits, but I have only one wife, and my wife is the person I love the most in the world,” he said.


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