South Korea’s spy agency, as well as sources from the U.S. government, claimed on Wednesday that Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, was assassinated by Pyongyang’s female assassins. The 45-year-old exile died after an apparent poison attack at Kuala Lumpur international airport on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian authorities continued the manhunt for the assailants and are believed to have detained a woman as part of the investigation, reports the BBC. According to the director of the National Intelligence Service (N.I.S.), Jong-nam was being targeted by Pyongyang for a long time but China was shielding him against the secretive state’s agents.
Jong-nam, who harbored no political ambitions and maintained a low profile, criticized his half-brother’s leadership skills soon after his elevation in 2011, writes the Guardian. At the time, Jong-nam said the North Korean leader lacked “any sense of duty or seriousness” and that his bribery and corruption would eventually ruin the country.