When we think about assassinations, famous characters come to mind like JFK or Martin Luther King. Their assassinations were well planned, and to this day, people are unsure of who really killed them.
But the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam wasn't done by a lone shooter or opposition; it was done by his own blood. Don't believe us? You're about to find out the crazy story behind the mysterious assassination of Kim Jong-Nam.
Assassinations are still a thing
We tend to assume that assassinations were a thing back in the day or in action movies, but they're still very relevant today. Many people out there are looking for nothing more than to literally eliminate their enemies from this Earth.
It's pretty intense, but hey, we didn't make the rules. Assassinations are happening all over the world, whether it's the assassination of mafia leaders, criminals, politicians, or celebrities. I'm sure you can already think of a few names.
It's not that hard to assassinate a person
I don't want to be the one to say it, but by the looks of it, it's not too hard to assassinate a person. Even some American politicians were assassinated, and they have the best security team in the world surrounding them.
So, in other words, if someone wants to get rid of another person, they just need to use a little elbow grease to get the job done. However, this particular assassination was well planned out and gave a message to the world that symbolized more than just killing another person.
Kim Jong who?
If you need to know the basics of who Kim Jong-Nam was, because odds are, you don't know who he is. However, he comes from a very controversial and powerful family. Kim Jong-Nam was the son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.
Nam was supposed to be the original heir of North Korea, but after attending boarding school in Switzerland, he started to enjoy the luxurious life and had no interest in taking power in North Korea. This left his half-brother, Kim Jong-Un, to take over into his father's reign.
Not so brotherly love
For most of us, we spend our lives growing up with our siblings by our side. But for Kim Jong-Un and Kim Jong-Nam, they grew up never meeting each other. Did they know of one another? Yes. But they practice an ancient belief of raising potential successors separately.
So after their father died, they met for the first time in their lives. Let's just say the two didn't become best friends. Instead, the divide between brothers was even more clear.
No one likes being talked poorly of. We're humans; we have egos and want nothing more than to make sure they stay intact. In a book titled My Father, Kim Jong Il, and Me, author Yoji Gomi interviews Kim Jong-Nam. And he didn't have the most supportive words for his brother.
He said that Kim Jong-Un's leadership would fail due to his brother's lack of experience and age. He also said, "Without reforms, North Korea will collapse, and when such changes take place, the regime will collapse." It was after that interview that Kim Jong-Nam would live his life with a target on his back.
Something out of a movie
We watch assassinations happen on tv all the time. The only difference is that those scenes aren't real, and they're played by actors. But what's going to happen next is really something out of a movie.
The difference is that this assassination was not performed by actors, but rather planned out by North Korean secret agents, under the directions of none other than Kim Jong-Un. Makes you wonder how much your siblings actually love you, right?
The Mission: Assassinate Kim Jong-Nam
The mission Supreme leader Kim Jong-Un set out was easy; the goal was to assassinate his half-brother. The order was out to have his brother killed, and in 2012, a failed assassination attempt had Jong-Nam writing to his brother, begging him to spare his life.
But his brother, Kim Jong-Un, wasn't so forgiving and ignored his cries for help. It was only a matter of time until Kim Jong-Un's plan to kill his brother would work, and in 2017, it looked like it finally pulled through as planned.
A typical day at the airport
If airports are known for one thing, it's their hecticness. People are quickly moving from place to place, all trying to make sure they catch their flights. With people preoccupied with their own business, this would make the perfect place for an assassination, wouldn't you think?
Kim Jong-Nam was waiting to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau in February 2017. He wasn't shot by men in black or taken into a back room and beaten. Instead, he was killed in an unusual way.
It all happened in a flash
Jong-Nam walked through the airport wearing a casual pale blue suit with a backpack over his shoulder. He didn't bring any attention to himself. While Jong-Nam was lingering by the check-in, two young Asian women approached him from behind.
One grabbed him while the other pressed a small cloth to his face. He tried to shake off the one woman for a few seconds, but the woman eventually relaxed, and they both walked away. Confused, he went to find help at the main terminal desk.
Jong-Nam started to feel off
After rushing to the terminal help desk, he explained to the staff what just happened. He complained that he was feeling groggy and having problems seeing, so they took him to a first-aid station.
It wasn't long after he was placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital via ambulance. However, he died en route. The women were caught on CCTV taking a taxi outside the terminal to a hotel in the city center.
Assassinated in plain sight
The next day, staff and police were able to see the extremely public assassination take place via CCTV cameras. The dead man was booked on a flight to Macau, under the name "Kim Chol," but the passport was fake.
What people didn't know at the time was that these two women had just killed the eldest son of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. Once they found this information out, they quickly hunted down the two women and brought them in for questioning.
All for a prank?
It took a couple of days for Malaysian police to capture Siti Aisyah, 25, from Serang, Indonesia, and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, 28. When investigated, they told the police they thought they were apart of a prank for a TV show.
Aisyah told police two men "who looked Japanese or Korean" paid her $90 to participate. But something was a little off. Did officials really buy their prank story? Or did they know exactly what they did?
The mysterious men
What interesting about this situation are the men who convinced the two women to take part in this scene. In an interview, Aisyah said two "producers" trained her with the baby oil smearing prank, showing her exactly what to do.
They would take her through luxury malls, hotels, and airports around Malaysia and Cambodia, as she practiced smearing hot-sauce and oil on Chinese looking men. So, this assassination plan was in the works for quite some time.
Smearing oil and hot-sauce on men, didn't Aisyah see anything wrong with that? Didn't it seem a little cruel? Perhaps a little too cruel for a prank? Aisyah said, "I was nervous about doing the pranks at first in case someone reacted badly or hit out, but I was very happy to have the work."
She did claim to have second thoughts about doing it. "I questioned why anyone would want to watch this sort of thing, but they told me Japanese audiences loved it."
What was on the cloth?
After examining the body, police found traces of VX on his face. VX is an organophosphate compound that hits the nervous system, over-stimulating muscles and glands until they exhaust themselves and stop working. People who are exposed to high doses of VX experience seizures, respiratory failure, and heart failure.
When the woman smothered Jong-Nam's face with the cloth, it was a concentrated dose of VX, which ultimately led to his death. But is VX easy to get?
VX is banned
There are a couple of reasons why the finger of blame is being pointed to North Korea. Aside from the fact that Kim Jong-Un has been trying to assassinate his brother for years, the origins of VX raises further suspicions.
A global treaty was signed by over 160 countries in 1997 to prohibit the production, stockpiling, and use of VX. However, one particular country did not sign the treaty, and it was North Korea. Hmm, well, that's not a good look for Kim Jong-Un.
Something smells fishy
After hearing the two women's excuses, it's hard to believe they didn't know what they were doing. And you're not the only one who's suspicious of their story. Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar highlighted a serious flaw in their story.
After the attack, Huong rushed to the bathroom to wash her hands. But why would you do that if you don't know what's on the cloth? "She was very aware that [the cloth] was toxic and that she needed to wash her hands," he told reporters.
Playing the role?
While on the one hand, it sounds like they knew what they were doing; on the other hand, they also seemed to lack any knowledge of what was going on. After being arrested, Aisyah appeared to be convinced that her arrest was part of the prank as well.
Andreano Erwin, Indonesian ambassador in Malaysia, told GQ, "The first time we visited her, she kept asking when she could leave the jail. The second, she complained that she still hadn't been paid for the last prank. The third time, she accused us of being part of the prank. The fourth time, we showed her a newspaper proving Kim Jong Nam had died...she started to cry."
Charged with murder
Whether the women knew what they did or not, the police weren't going to let their stories slide. So, they arrested and charged the two women with the murder of Kim Jong-Nam. However, in Malaysia, the women weren't facing jail time; instead, they were facing death by hanging if found guilty of murder.
Though something strange happened. The trial came to a sudden end without explanation, with one of the women being released immediately. The case remains a mystery and may never be truly resolved. But do we know who the men were?
Who were the mysterious men?
After Aisyah and Huong were arrested, it was discovered that the men who were grooming the two women were North Korean agents. Upon further investigation, Malaysia managed to single out four North Korean suspects who fled the country the day of the assassination - their whereabouts remain unknown.
You have to admit, this is quite an elaborate plot by Kim Jong-Un. Why try to kill your brother when he's not interested in being the leader? Guess having a capitalist in the family wasn't a good look.
Did Jong-Nam know he was in danger?
The day he died, Jong-Nam was carrying a dozen vials of atropine, an antidote for poisons like VX. The vials were in his is bag at the time. Six months before he was assassinated, he told a friend he knew his life was in danger.
If you know your life is in danger, carrying atropine is exactly what you would do. However, why didn't he use atropine after being smeared with VX? It looks like we'll never know the answer.
But that's not the end of this story
It looks like Kim Jong-Un is a man who is all about the details. Why would he kill only his brother when he could get rid of Jong-Nam's entire family? After the death of Kim Jong-Nam, it appeared that Jong-Un has a new target, and this time, it was Jong-Nam's son.
His son, Kim Han-Sol connected with Free Joseon, an underground movement focused on toppling North Korea's regime, and asked for their help after noticing the police who guarded his house had disappeared.
Now, he's missing
After Free Joseon told him to flee his home from Macau as soon as possible, he met with the group in Tapei, Taiwan, two days after his dad was killed. It was then claimed he boarded a plane to seek asylum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
However, he never arrived at his destination. Apparently, two CIA agents intercepted him at Tapei and took him into protective custody. His whereabouts remain unknown, nor has the CIA confirmed this.
North Korea wipes its hands clean
So what happened after? Was North Korea punished for this public assassination in an international airport? No. Leaders around the world decided to let this situation slide as they have bigger issues with North Korea, including their nuclear weapons.
If anything, this just showed to the world that they're not joking around; if they want to do something, they'll do it. For now, North Korea wiped its hands clean on the heinous crime committed. Who knows when justice will come.
A strong message to the world
The entire story around this assassination is more than just someone being killed. North Korean agents were able to orchestrate a public killing in the middle of an international airport without anyone seeing it. If anything, North Korea wanted to send a strong message to the world of what they're capable of achieving.
While much of the world underestimated this country, they showed just how clever they could be through this assassination. It looks like North Korea isn't letting go of their role as a villain any time soon.