PETALING JAYA: The assassination of the North Korean leader’s estranged brother, Kim Jong Nam, 45, was meticulously orchestrated over a period of five years.
It was also part of Kim Jong Un’s master plan, the Daily Mail Online reported today, quoting intelligence sources and GQ magazine.
It said Jong Un engineered the assassination of his half-brother to be so “gruesome” that it would “horrify the rest of the world” and intimidate his adversaries, it claimed.
On Feb 13, Jong Nam was killed by two women who smeared him with what turned out to be VX nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.
Initially, it was thought that the assassination was a display of sloppiness by the North Koreans.
Analysts had noted that the two women, who smeared the poison on Jong Nam, were clearly visible on surveillance footage as they did not cover their faces.
‘From the moment Jong Nam left Macau, the North Koreans tailed him,’ Nam Sung Wook, a Korea University professor investigating the assassination, told GQ.
‘They had a group on his airplane. As soon as he arrived at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, another group followed him.
“They kept that surveillance up while he slept. Even as Jong Nam entered the terminal, he was shadowed,’ the professor added.
Nam, a former member of South Korea’s spy service, told the magazine that contrary to earlier reports, Pyongyang wanted the assassination to be viewed in public.
‘Pyongyang wanted to send a worldwide message by murdering Kim Jong Nam in this gruesome, public way.
“Pyongyang wanted to horrify the rest of the world by releasing a chemical weapon at an airport.
“Jong Un wants to reign a long time and negotiate as a superpower.
“The only way to do that is to keep the world in fear of his weapons. He has a grand design, and this is part of it.”
The trial of the two women charged with Jong Nam’s killing will continue on Oct 2.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, last appeared in court on July 27.
They had told their diplomats they believed they were participating in a reality television show prank when they assaulted Jong Nam and were paid for it.
Jong Nam was the eldest son of the former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. When Jong Il died, his place was filled by Jong Un in 2011.
North Korea have refused to accept the dead man as Jong Un’s half-brother, only claiming he was North Korean. They suggested he had died of a heart attack and claimed his body.
Jong Nam was travelling on a passport under the name Kim Chol.