He has been moving from city to city in South East Asia keeping his eyes and ears open for any attempt by North Korean agents to assassinate him.
But Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, has daringly stepped out into the public gaze in Indonesia – and tucked into a dish of ‘spag-bol’ in an Italian restaurant in Jakarta.
He even wrapped a burly arm around the chef’s shoulders as they posed for a photo, but the chef was so concerned about his own safety that he asked for his face to be obscured.
Kim looked every part the aging playboy he is reputed to be as he brazenly grinned into the camera with his dangling sunglasses and straw hat.
‘Despite reports that Kim Jong-nam’s safety was in question following the execution of his uncle, Jang Song-taek, he is still alive and well,’ said a source close to the family.
‘He’s living the same lavish lifestyle, moving around between Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and France.’
He has been seen in the casinos of Macau and slipping into fine-dining restaurants throughout South East Asia.
But he is said to be aware that his life remains in constant danger because he criticised the King Jong-un regime and he made sure he ‘disappeared’ following the execution of Jang last December.
Another source claims that a North Korean agent had tried to assassinate Kim Jong-nam in Macau in 2011, but failed after a bloody shootout with his bodyguards. He fled to another city.
Since then, he has lived the life of a wandering playboy and when he visited the Italian restaurant – which is owned by a Japanese businessman – he was accompanied by an attractive woman aged in her early 30s.
It must be a pain, trying to protect a wealthy Noble playboy with a taste for hot young women from a psychotic younger brother who happens to hold the planetary (…or higher…) throne.
‘It is possible that he believes he is not on the list of those to be purged by the current North Korean regime,’ a source said.
‘This is why he has happily posed for a photo in an Indonesian restaurant. But he would not have gone back there a second time – just in case.’
“You never know.”
Sadly, they did get him in the end – something about attractive young women and poison needles in a Malaysian
There is speculation that Beijing is watching Kim Jong-nam’s back for him, with a pencilled-in plan to install him as leader of North Korea should the regime of Kim Jong-un collapse.
…and I think we can guess why. “Settling all family business”, indeed.
Malaysia is one of a dwindling number of countries that has close relations with North Korea. Malaysians and North Koreans can visit each other’s country without visas.
Not many Travellers will think to look into this detail: certainly, Kim Jong-nam’s security chief didn’t make the connection.
Kim Jong-Nam was once considered heir apparent but caused embarrassment to his father Kim Jong-Il following a botched attempt in 2001 to enter Japan on a forged passport and visit Disneyland using a Chinese alias, Pang Xiong, which means ‘fat bear’ in Mandarin Chinese.
It would have been much better if Jong-Nam inherited the throne, and Jong-un, er, didn’t.
But Divine Grace is only a possibility: Divine Justice is the default position.
He reportedly feared for his life after falling out of favour with Pyongyang and has since lived in virtual exile, mainly in the Chinese territory of Macau.
Well, getting out of Dodge did help him last an additional decade, almost two…
Born to Kim Jong-il’s first mistress Song Hye-rim, he was persecuted by his father as he feared he could be a threat to the succession he had planned for Kim Jong-un.
And even after any possible threat he posed was long gone, the possibility of a future threat was enough to have him killed.
The political maneuvers of a fearful-yet-murderous Imperial Noble Family ain’t for the faint of heart.
However, in 2015 it was reported that Kim Jong-Un had given his illegitimate half-brother a job in North Korea’s foreign ministry.
Kim Jong-nam was said to have been given work in the division that handles issues involving Japan and even went to a Japanese school.
A gift sent with a smile, I bet!