While North Korea is a hopeless cause for any national branding strategy (granted, it can only improve) we still are strangely fascinated by the continuing brand fails that it generates in the media.
The latest comes in reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam was assassinated in Malaysia this week. This according to South Korean news outlets citing an unidentified government source.
Reports say the 45-year-old Kim was killed by two women who attacked him with poison needles or possibly a toxic liquid splashed on his face at the airport on Monday. Korea’s largest news agency, Yonhap also reported the killing, without confirming any of those details.
The source said that the women fled in a taxi after the attack and that Malaysian are police searching for them.
According to the New York Times:
In Kuala Lumpur, a government official said that workers and the police at Kuala Lumpur International Airport had found a man who was ill on Monday and that he had died after being taken to the hospital. The official said the authorities were awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of the deceased North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, was once considered the heir to power in the dynastic regime in Pyongyang. But he was believed to have hobbled his chance of becoming leader when he was caught in 2001 while trying to take his son to Tokyo Disneyland with a fake visa. He was detained for several days before being deported to China.
Other analysts in South Korea say that Kim Jong-nam fell out of the succession race after his mother, Sung Hae-rim, was rejected by the North Korean leader, who favored Kim Jong-un’s mother, Ko Young-hee. Ms. Ko and Kim Jong-il had another son, Kim Jong-chol, who was seen at an Eric Clapton concert in London in 2015.