Kim Jong-un's half-brother was linked with South Korea's spy agency: report - Korea Times
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Kim Jong-un's half-brother was linked with South Korea's spy agency: report

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Kim Jong-nam / Yonhap
Kim Jong-nam / Yonhap

By Yoon Ja-young

Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who was murdered in Malaysia in 2017, was linked to South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), according to a report by South Korean broadcaster SBS, Tuesday.

SBS reported that it had confirmed from a number of former and current NIS officers that Kim Jong-nam had been providing information on top North Korean officials including Kim Jong-un for at least five to six years before he was killed.

The estranged half-brother was the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and was once regarded as the heir apparent to the regime. However, he lost his father's trust after he was involved in a series of problematic incidents, including trying to enter Japan on a false passport in 2001. At that time, he said he was attempting to visit the Tokyo Disneyland; and since then, he had been living in Macau, and traveling to other countries.

In February 2017, Kim was in Kuala Lumpur International Airport when two young women ― one from Indonesia and the other from Vietnam ― suddenly approached him and smeared the lethal XV chemical agent on his face. He died within an hour, and the brazen attack that occurred in broad daylight among a large crowd shocked the world.

According to SBS, NIS agents contacted Kim in "third-countries," and provided him with monetary compensation.

The report added that the NIS had basic information on Kim's whereabouts and that he sometimes directly contacted the spy agency through email.

At the time, there was speculation that Kim might have been seeking asylum in South Korea, but SBS reported that the former and current officer whom it contacted dismissed this, saying it would have put a considerable burden on inter-Korean relations.


Yoon Ja-young yjy@koreatimes.co.kr


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