© 2023 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Second Suspect Arrested In Death Of N. Korean Dictator's Half-Brother

Malaysian police officers stand outside Putrajaya Hospital, outside Kuala Lumpur, where the body of Kim Jong Un's brother was initially brought.
AFP/Getty Images
Malaysian police officers stand outside Putrajaya Hospital, outside Kuala Lumpur, where the body of Kim Jong Un's brother was initially brought.

Updated 11:25 p.m. ET

Malaysian police say they have arrested a second woman in connection with the killing of the North Korean leader's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. She is 25 years old and a holder of an Indonesian passport. They say she was identified from surveillance TV footage of the airport. Earlier, authorities said they had detained another woman in the death.

The victim, who was in his mid-40s, was the eldest of former dictator Kim Jong Il's children. He died en route to the hospital Monday after a suspicious encounter at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The first woman detained was carrying Vietnamese travel documents, according to police, and was alone at the time of the arrest. Malaysian media cite government sources saying the closed-circuit footage caught two women approaching Kim. One of them covered his face with a cloth before walking away. Police say Kim fell ill and asked a counter clerk for help.

Sources tell NPR his body was transported earlier Tuesday from one hospital to a larger one — Hospital Kuala Lumpur. An autopsy will be performed.

After growing up in Western countries, Kim had been living outside North Korea for decades. He was believed to have homes in Macau, Beijing and Paris. In 2001, Kim was detained trying to enter Japan on false travel documents. He later said he was trying to bring his family to Tokyo Disneyland.

The big mystery, if he didn't die of natural causes, is why Kim Jong Nam was attacked, and why now.

"I don't think we will know the full story about the death of Kim Jong Nam for many years," says Michael Madden, a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, who runs the site North Korean Leadership Watch.

Chan Kok Leong contributed to this post, from Kuala Lumpur.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.