SEOUL - An acquaintance of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says he did not respond to advice to seek asylum in South Korea.
According to Yonhap News Agency as quoted in The Korea Herald, the South Korean resident in Malaysia said that he used to recommend that Kim Jong-nam go to South Korea rather than live in constant fear, as Seoul would protect him.
"But he just smiled mischievously without reacting to my recommendation," the acquaintance is quoted as having told Radio Free Asia (RFA).
He added that he frequently met Jong-nam before the 45-year-old eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was killed in Malaysia.
Kim Jong-nam was killed at KLIA2 on Monday after being attacked by two unidentified women.
The suspects fled the scene and police suspect North Korea was behind the killing.
Jong-nam's acquaintance lamented not asking him more strongly about seeking asylum in South Korea, RFA said.
He also said Jong-nam was accompanied by security guards sent by China every time he went on a trip, wondering whether the guards were at the scene of the murder and mentioning the need to confirm the whereabouts of a Chinese-Singaporean woman who used to travel with Jong-nam.
According to the RFA report, the South Korean friend of Jong-nam, a former senior official of the South Korean residents' group in Malaysia, said he had dined with Kim many times when he made trips to the country, expressing his feelings that he was shocked by the news of Jong-nam's death.
"I had never heard of Jong-nam since the summer last year, when our meeting at a restaurant was exposed to news media," the acquaintance said.