PETALING JAYA - A North Korean man died at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Monday but his identity is still unknown, says police, amid reports that it was Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Bukit Aman Special Branch director Comm Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed the death of a North Korean man, but said police are still trying to verify his identity.
"We are still investigating the identity of the deceased and whether he is indeed the half-brother of Kim Jong-un.
"We received a report that a North Korean man died at the airport on Monday," he said when contacted.
It is learnt that the deceased received treatment at the KLIA clinic but was later referred to a nearby hospital. The cause of death is still unknown.
Citing South Korean media and multiple government sources, Reuters earlier reported that Jong-nam has been killed in Malaysia.
South Korea's TV Chosun, a cable television network, said that he was poisoned at KLIA by two women believed to be North Korean operatives, who remained at large, citing multiple South Korean government sources.
Jong-nam and Jong-un are both sons of former leader Kim Jong-il, who died in late 2011, but they had different mothers.
Jong-nam was believed to be close to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second most powerful man before being executed on Jong-un's orders in 2013, Reuters reported.
In 2001, Jong-nam was caught at an airport in Japan travelling on a fake passport, saying he had wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland. He was known to travel to Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, according to Reuters.
He said several times over the years that he had no interest in leading his country.
"Personally I am against third-generation succession," he told Japan's Asahi TV in 2010, before his younger had succeeded their father, Reuters reported.
In 2010, South Korean newspaper the Chosun Ilbo reported that Jong-nam has two wives, at least one mistress, and several children.