Kim Jong-un's brother spotted in Jakarta months after 'beloved' uncle's execution

Appearance of Kim Jong-nam dispels rumours he was in hiding after purge against Jang Song-thaek, with whom he was reportedly close

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 2:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 2:51pm


The elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has surfaced in Indonesia, dismissing speculation that he might have been hiding following the execution of his uncle, a South Korean television reported today.

Kim Jong-nam was sighted at an Italian restaurant run by a Japanese businessman in Jakarta on May 4 with two women, cable news network YTN said.

YTN quoted one of Kim’s friends as saying the 43-year-old had been living well, shuttling back and forth in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and France, despite the shock execution of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, last December.

Kim Jong-nam was reportedly close to Jang, once the North’s unofficial number two and political mentor of current leader Kim Jong-un.

Jang’s execution was the biggest political upheaval since the young ruler took power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in December 2011.

Kim Jong-nam was once considered heir apparent but fell out of favour with his father following a botched attempt in 2001 to secretly enter Japan and visit Disneyland.

He has since lived in virtual exile, mainly in the Chinese territory of Macau.

Kim Jong-nam, known as an advocate for reform, once told a Japanese newspaper that he opposed the idea of the North’s dynastic power transfer.