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New details in death of Kim's half brother

dpa logodpa 14/02/2017

South Korea's spy agency confirmed the half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un was killed by poison, Yonhap news agency reported.

New details have emerged regarding the death of the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.

South Korea's spy agency confirmed Kim Jong Nam was killed by poison, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, but the organisation did not say if a needle was used to administer the fatal dose.

Lee Byung Ho, the director of the National Intelligence Service, also said that Pyongyang has been attempting to assassinate Kim Jong Nam for the past five years.

Meanwhile, Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told Malaysian newspaper The Star the incident occurred at about 1200 AEDT on Monday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, about an hour before the 45-year-old was due to board a flight to Macau.

"He told the receptionist at the departure hall that someone had grabbed his face from behind and splashed some liquid on him," Fadzil said.

"He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport's clinic. At this point, he was experiencing headache and was on the verge of passing out."

He then had a seizure and died while being transported to a nearby hospital, Fadzil said.

He added that two female suspects then fled the scene in a taxi, according to The Star.

Should Pyongyang be found responsible for the murder, it would mark the most high-profile death under the Kim Jong Un regime since the execution of Jang Song Thaek in December 2013, the once-powerful uncle of North Korea's leader.

The eldest of former dictator Kim Jong Il's three sons mainly spent time in China and Southeast Asia in recent years, according to reports.

In 2001, Kim Jong Nam was arrested at Tokyo airport for allegedly having a fake Chinese passport. Reports said the name on the passport was Pang Xiong, which translates as fat bear. He was trying to reach Disneyland Tokyo.

South Korean media have long talked about a feud between the brothers and have speculated that the North Korean leader might want to get rid of his rival, who had said he never sought power for himself.

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