PETALING JAYA: Kim Jong Nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, lived a “carefree” and “chilled” life in Singapore, moving around without bodyguards and travelling on budget airlines.
This was revealed in an article by the UK’s Telegraph, by a man claiming to be a friend of Kim Jong Nam.
In the article, the man, who wanted to be known only as Anwar, said he met the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Singapore four years ago.
Then, Jong Nam – who was murdered earlier this week at klia2 — was living in both Singapore and the Chinese territory of Macau.
Anwar said Jong Nam was part of a small set of wealthy foreigners who liked to “party and take advantage” of Singapore’s posh restaurants and clubs.
They met mutual friends and Anwar noted that most of Jong Nam’s friends were Japanese but his circle of friends also included “young socialites” from across Asia.
“He was extremely chilled out about his safety in Singapore. He was really carefree, really chilled. You would like him if you met him, in fact you would adore him,” he said, adding Jong Nam moved around Singapore without bodyguards and with “no obvious” concerns for his safety.
On the man himself, Anwar noted that the “easy-going” and “cheerful” Jong Nam – who studied in Switzerland – was fluent in French and spoke good English but with a heavy accent.
Anwar said he and Jong Nam connected over Paris, France, where Jong Nam’s son Kim Han Sol was heading to study at the elite Sciences Po university. Jong Nam was eager to hear from Anwar about Paris as Anwar had spent time in the city.
Anwar also said he and Jong Nam became closer after Jong Nam was diagnosed with diabetes and stopped going to bars and clubs in Singapore.
“He found out he was diabetic and he stopped drinking totally.
“That’s when our friendship became more meaningful because we started hanging out during the day. We started going to dinner,” he said, adding that Jong Nam rarely spoke about his background or native country.
Anwar said Jong Nam also didn’t talk about his family but instead spoke about the “good things” in life like fine wine, good food and travelling.
He added that Jong Nam didn’t appear to work and while he always had money for food and drink, Anwar didn’t recall Jong Nam’s life as “particularly ostentatious”. He added that Jong Nam would fly the Singapore-based budget airline TigerAir when commuting between Singapore and Macau.
“I cried when I found out about the news. What shook me was how a really nice guy — a beautiful soul — could be butchered in such a way,” said Anwar.
Kim Jong Nam arrived in Malaysia on Feb 6, and was scheduled to board a 9am flight to Macau on Monday.
While at klia2, he was approached by a woman who sprayed him with a liquid, while another woman held a cloth over his face. He asked for help at the klia2 service counter but died on the way to the hospital.