Kim Jong-nam, the first son of Korean leader Kim Jong-il, was killed Tuesday at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to preliminary reports from the Malaysian police, Kim was injured after “contact” with someone who pushed his head back. He asked for assistance and was taken to the airport infirmary, and he ultimately died in the ambulance while being transported to a hospital.
According to initial speculation, not confirmed by police, he was killed by two women using a poison-tipped needle. The news is significant because Kim Jong-nam (who apparently had with him a passport under the alias Kim Chol) was for years the designated heir of Kim Jong-il until 2001, when he brought the family disgrace: arrested in Tokyo with a fake Dominican passport trying illegally to enter Japan to visit Disneyland.
It was an affront to Pyongyang and the end of a political career for the young heir. Since then he has lived in exile in Macau, Singapore and China, protected, it seems, by the Chinese authorities. But he was constantly under the threat of his brother, the current leader Kim Jong-un, who took the throne instead of just Kim Jong-nam on the occasion of the Dear Leader’s death in 2011.