KIM JONG-NAM WAS NORTH KOREA’S ONLY INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOY
Kim Jong-nam, who has died in Malaysia, was the only Kim family member to speak with foreign media, and the closest the country ever had to an international playboy.
STORY BY NIMROD KAMER
Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has been murdered in Malaysia by two female agents with a poison needle. Kim Jong-nam was the subject of a book My Father, Kim Jong-Il and Me in 2012, written by Japanese journalist Yoji Gomi who encountered his subject by chance in 2004 and wrote the book after hours of interviews and hundreds of emails. In it, Jong-nam reveals his love for a “tender-hearted” father, his fears for North Korea’s future, the Chinese spies who watch him and his father’s doubts about handing power to his half-brother, Kim Jong-un.
Jong-nam could’ve had the North Korean throne for himself, but apparently he was enjoying women and gambling in Macau to much. In 2001, he unsuccessfully tried to visit Disneyland in Japan using a fake passport and Chinese alias that translated “fat bear”, a rather stupid move which embarrassed his father and ended any chance of him becoming leader.
Jong-nam was the only Kim family member to speak with foreign media, and the closest the country ever had to an international playboy. He didn’t attend his father’s funeral as he was exiled in Macau, and said on Japanese TV that he opposes hereditary transfer of powers. In 2010, Jong-nam wrote that how his heart “aches” to “see or hear about the way people live in North Korea”. He doubted how those who support his father or his successor really care for the well-being of ordinary North Koreans
Jong-nam always looked more human than Un. In the picture beneath he’s seen in designer’s pyjamas, not worried by some facial hair on and a moustache, a big no-no in his homeland’s couture-less men’s culture.