In 2012, Kim Jong-nam wrote a letter to his half-brother Kim Jong-un, asking him to spare his life and that of his family as revealed by South Korea’s head of National Intelligence Service on Wednesday.
Mr Kim was poisoned on Monday at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 45-year old was waiting for a flight to Macau, where he had run for fear of his life. One arrest was made after the alleged assassination and now a second woman has been arrested concerning the same death.
The detained woman, who is in her mid-20, is being held by the Malaysian authorities.
She was identified from airport CCTV footage and had an Indonesian passport.
Even though Malaysia hasn’t yet confirmed that the dead man travelling under the name Kim Chol, is indeed Kim Jong-nam, South Korea has stated that its certain of his identity.
Most media outlets and authorities already speculate the involvement of North Korea in the assassination.
The speculation is fueled first by the letter written to the North Korean perceived dictator and secondly due to the country’s attempts to block autopsy.
North Korea is reported to have sent a senior diplomat to Malaysia who asked that the post mortem to be halted. His request was however turned down.
How the Assassination unfolded
A dark-haired young woman has been blamed for having carried out the assassination.
Strolling casually through Terminal 2, a small bag on her shoulder and the initials LOL (text-speak for ‘Laugh out Loud’) on her white T-shirt, she was just one of the 150,000 or so passengers the Malaysian hub handles each day.
But this wasn’t any other woman of her age. She was a specialist assassin who had been sent on a mission, a mission to take out one man thought to be the greatest threat to Kim Jong-un. The job she was to do it with the help of a second female accomplice.
Their planned assassination wouldn’t be hard, considering the target was known to have a soft spot for women, in addition to his gambling and alcoholic lifestyle.
Jong-nam has been a target for a long time due to his dismissal of the North Korean regime, famously referring to it as a “joke in the outside world.”
Because he always knew that danger lurks everywhere, Kim always had around him bodyguards. But this time round he was left all alone as a result of a brief security lapse between arrival at the airport and going through the passport checkpoint. The assassins saw this as a brilliant opportunity to strike.
Investigators believe that one woman grabbed his face from the back – she probably had a poisoned handkerchief over his nose – while the other either injected or sprayed poisoned into the deceased.
The purposed poison is said to work within seconds, sending the victim into muscle paralysis and breathlessness. It didn’t disappoint in this case as Kim died immediately from the exposure as the women fled via a cab.
They left him gasping for breath as he called for help and complained of burning eyes. The response was swift but he died in the ambulance en route to hospital.
Who are the suspects?
Even though only two women have so far been termed the main perpetuators, authorities believe the assassination was done in conjunction with four other male suspects.
“One female suspect seen on CCTV was found wandering in the airport,” police said. She had apparently been “left behind” by the other assailants. The suspects were both Vietnamese and North Korean, police sources said.
After analysis of the airport’s CCTV footage, a taxi driver in his 30’s was arrested.
He is the one who picked the two women upon completion of the assassination.
But this is not the first time Mr Kim’s life has been in danger. South Korea arrested an North Korean spy in 2012 who later on admitted that he had come to plan a hit-and-run accident on him.