Malaysian police reportedly received fingerprint data of the slain Kim Jong-nam from Japan on 10 March, following which they confirmed the man assassinated at Kuala Lumpur airport in February was the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The deceased was initially identified as Kim Chol from the name mentioned in his passport – the same name that North Korean officials used to claim the body. It is widely speculated that the Pyongyang may have ordered the assassination of Jong-nam, who lived in exile in Macau.
Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted sources as saying on Sunday (12 March) that Japanese immigration officials had detained Kim Jong-nam in 2001 at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo when he attempted to enter the country on a fake passport. A fingerprint was subsequently taken by authorities, which was handed over to Malaysian authorities to establish the identity of the deceased.
Kim had apparently told Japanese officials at the time of his detention that he wanted to visit Disneyland in the country. The source added that Japan had also offered data on Kim's physical characteristics including mugshots to help Malaysian police identify the body of the victim.
According to Malaysian police, Kim was allegedly killed by two female assassins who smeared the highly toxic VX nerve agent on his face while he was waiting to board a flight to Macau on 13 February. Indonesian national Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese resident Doan Thi Huong were charged with his murder.
Malaysian police named some North Korean nationals, including an embassy official at Kuala Lumpur, as suspects in the high-profile murder.
North Korea dismissed allegations that the hit was ordered by the country's leader and instead accused Malaysia of manipulating investigations. Pyongyang also disputed the post-mortem report from Malaysian officials that suggested poisoning as the cause of death and insisted that Chol died of a heart attack as he was already suffering from serious physical ailments.