Kim Jong-nam (pictured in 2010) spent much of his time outside North Korea Photo: AFP
The Royal Malaysia Police said in a statement that a North Korean man who sought medical assistance at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 customer service counter on Monday was identified as Kim Chol, according to Bernama, Malaysian National News Agency.
In the statement, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the 46-year-old man who died en route to a hospital yesterday was identified based on his travel document.
He said Kim Chol’s passport number was 836410070 and he was born in Pyongyang on June 10, 1970.
It is also believed that Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of the North-Korean leader was traveling under a passport with the name of “Kim Chol” in Malaysia.
But according to Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, the investigation is still in progress and a post-mortem examination request has been made to ascertain the cause of death.
According to an early report by South Korean Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a government source, the man killed was North Korea leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam.
He was attacked at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport by two unidentified women who stabbed him with “poisoned needles” on Monday morning and fled away in a taxi, according to TV Chosun, a South Korean nationwide general cable TV network and broadcasting company.
Malaysian police suspect the two women were from North Korea, TV Chosun reported on Tuesday.
Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un are both sons of former leader Kim Jong Il, who died in late 2011, but they had different mothers.
Kim Jong Nam was believed to be close to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second-most powerful man before being executed on Kim Jong Un's orders in 2013.
In the 1990s, Kim Jong-nam was thought to be the heir to Kim Jong Il to lead North Korea until his aunt, Song Hye-rang, sister of Jong-nam’s mother and sister-in-law of Kim Jong Il, fled North Korea in 1996, according to doopedia, a Korean language encyclopedia published by Doosan Donga.
Kim Jong-nam’s chances to succeed his father further took a blow when he tried entering Tokyo Disneyland using a fake passport in May 2001.
Kim was known to have spent quite an amount of his time living outside North Korea and spoke out publicly against the third-generation succession in 2010, before Kim Jong-un had succeeded their father. He had also suspected he was a target of assassination by North Korean agents.