Surveillance footage obtained and released by Japan’s Fuji TV purportedly shows a woman attacking and killing Kim Jong-nam. The elder half-brother of Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was murdered in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13.
The video, which has not been independently verified, shows a bald man in a tan suit walking around the airport while carrying a backpack. In the following clip, at two angles, footage shows a woman entering a line of people, grabbing the man by the head, and walking away (fast forward to 1:09 and 3:55 for the clearest footage of the incident).
Police have detained four suspects for alleged involvement in the attack, including 28-year-old Doan Thi Hoang, from Vietnam, and 26-year-old Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia. The woman that attacks the person believed to be Kim dons a white shirt and neck-length hair—not unlike a suspected female assailant wearing an “LOL” t-shirt in a photo widely shared last week.
Kim’s death has caused a breakdown in the once-cozy relations between Malaysia and North Korea. Pyongyang’s ambassador accused Malaysia’s government of “colluding with hostile forces” and denounced it for carrying out an autopsy without its cooperation. Malaysia, meanwhile, has withdrawn its diplomatic envoy from Pyongyang.
Yet the deeper implications of Kim’s death for East Asian geopolitics remain unclear. On Saturday (Feb. 18) China announced it would cease all coal imports from North Korea. It claimed the measure was simply in compliance with UN sanctions against North Korea, but the timing—day’s after Kim’s death, and one week after North Korea’s most recent nuclear test—suggest Beijing is losing patience with the regime in Pyongyang.
Korean media has speculated that China had hopes (however far-fetched) that Kim Jong-nam, who had spoken out against his family’s totalitarian leadership in the past, would defect to the South and establish a government-in-exile as the first-born son and rightful successor to Kim Jong-il. The murder of Kim Jong-nam has put to rest any such notions.