PETALING JAYA – North Korean citizens are outraged over the death of their leader’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, says the leader of a group of North Korean defectors in Seoul.
“Pyongyang citizens are in a rage as the rumours of Kim’s murder have reached them via North Korean officials working abroad.
“They think the murder of the eldest grandson of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung and the eldest son of the late leader Kim Jong Il is a thing that cannot happen,” North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity (NKIS) leader Kim Heung Kwang was quoted as saying in a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Heung Kwang said North Koreans in their 50s and 60s knew of Jong Nam, who was once considered Jong Il’s successor, adding that they were “enraged by Kim Jong Un’s murder of his own brother”.
According to the report, the NKIS chief had learned of the reaction through a phone conversation with a North Korean acquaintance who had made a business trip to Beijing earlier this week.
Yonhap quoted Heung Kwang as saying that news of Jong Nam’s death was spreading by word of mouth in Pyongyang.
It reported that a North Korean defector, who once worked in the communist state’s cabinet, said “every citizen in Pyongyang” had learned about the killing in less than 10 days.
Jong Nam was killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13 while awaiting a morning flight to Macau.
He was accosted by two women, a Vietnamese and an Indonesian, who wiped his face with a liquid, identified by an autopsy as VX nerve agent. He died within 20 minutes of the attack.
The women were charged with murder on March 1. If found guilty, they face the mandatory death sentence.
CLAAside from the two women, police also nabbed a Malaysian, Muhammad Farid Jallaludin, and North Korean citizen Ri Jong Chol to help in investigations into the murder.
Jong Chol was released today due to insufficient evidence. He was expected to be taken to the immigration office to be prepared for deportation to North Korea, according to officials.
Four other male suspects, all North Korean, fled the country on the same day of the murder. They have been identified as Ri Ji Hyon, Hong Song Hac, O Jong Gil and Ri Jae Nam.
Two other North Korean suspects, Hyon Kwang Song, who is the second secretary with the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Air Koryo employee Kim Uk Il are also wanted by police to help in the investigations.