Asia

Kim Jong-nam: Main players in mysterious killing

The killing of the North Korean leader's half brother, Kim Jong-nam, in Kuala Lumpur airport has spawned a massive police investigation and a diplomatic row involving a growing cast of characters. The BBC takes a look at the main players in the web of intrigue surrounding his death.

The victim

Image copyright AFP

The man at the centre of the mystery, Kim Jong-nam, 46, was an outspoken critic who lived a peripatetic life in exile.

Once tipped to be the next leader of North Korea, he fell out of favour in the early 2000s and soon left the country. His half-brother Kim Jong-un became leader after their father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011.

Kim Jong-nam was mostly based in Macau, where he was heading when he was killed on 13 February.

Malaysian police have said he was attacked by two female suspects who wiped a toxin on his face.

Read more: Kim Jong-nam, North Korea's critic in exile


The suspects

Malaysian police have named at least 10 people as suspects or as persons of interest who are wanted for questioning.

Detained

  • Doan Thi Huong, 28, Vietnamese, one of two women suspected of wiping a toxin on Mr Kim's face. She is thought to be the woman seen in CCTV footage wearing a white top emblazoned with the letters "LOL".
Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright REX/Shutterstock
  • Siti Aisyah, 25, Indonesian, the other female suspect. Indonesian authorities say she claims she thought she was taking part in a TV prank.
Image copyright EPA
  • Ri Jong Chol, 47, a North Korean who has lived in Malaysia for the last three years.
Image copyright Reuters
  • Police have also detained the Malaysian boyfriend of Siti Aisyah, Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, but have said he will be released soon.
Image copyright Malaysian police

Sought by police

  • Hyon Kwang Song, 44, second secretary at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Believed to still be in Malaysia.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
  • Kim Uk Il, 37, staff member of North Korea's state airline Air Koryo. Believed to still be in Malaysia.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
  • Ri Ju U, 30, a North Korean also known as "James". Believed to still be in Malaysia.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
  • Ri Ji Hyon, 33, a North Korean. Believed to have fled to Pyongyang.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
  • Hong Song Hac, 34, a North Korean. Believed to have fled to Pyongyang.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
  • O Jong Gil, 55, a North Korean. Believed to have fled to Pyongyang.
Image copyright Reuters
  • Ri Jae Nam, 57, a North Korean. Believed to have fled to Pyongyang.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

The ambassador

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

As the evidence increasingly points to the involvement of North Koreans in the killing, a diplomatic rift has opened up between Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur, who previously had good relations.

Leading the charge for North Korea is Pyongyang's ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol.

He has angrily rejected widespread speculation that his country was involved, and has openly criticised the Malaysian government, accusing it of colluding with "hostile forces". He added that their police investigation "cannot be trusted" and that the incident had been "politicised".

In response Malaysia's foreign ministry has said the diplomat's allegations were "deeply insulting" and based on "delusions, lies and half-truths".

The spat began shortly after Mr Kim's death, when North Korea demanded that Malaysia hand over his body to them, and tried to prevent a post mortem. Malaysia refused to accede to their demands.

Malaysian authorities have asked Mr Kim's immediate family members to provide a DNA sample.


The son

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Media captionKim Han-sol: 'My father has been killed'

Kim Jong-nam's eldest son, Kim Han-sol, appeared in a video on 8 March confirming his father's death.

Born in Pyongyang in 1995 but raised in Macau, Kim Han-sol has studied in Bosnia and France, and is said to take after his father in terms of holding open-minded views about the world.

He has publicly expressed hope for reunification of the two Koreas, and has referred to his uncle Kim Jong-un as "a dictator".

His current whereabouts are unknown but he said in the video that he was with his mother and sister.

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