TOKYO — The North Korean regime is widely being blamed for ordering the sensational assassination this week of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged older half-brother of leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim Jong Nam was attacked by two women, believed to be North Korean agents, at Kuala Lumpur airport on Monday morning as he was checking in for a flight to Macau. One grabbed him while the other covered his face with some kind of liquid. He died on the way to the hospital.
Of course, the regime in Pyongyang hasn’t commented. But analysts say that the bizarre incident — which reads like something out of a spy novel — bears all the hallmarks of a North Korean hit.
The totalitarian regime makes no bones about getting rid of its enemies — sometimes through traditional purges and executions in North Korea, sometimes through mysterious car crashes in a country with almost no traffic. And sometimes with plots that would make James Bond proud.
Here are some other assassinations or attempts associated with the Kim regime.
1968: The January 21 Incident
On Jan. 21, 1968, a hand-picked team of 31 North Korean commandos known as Unit 124 was dispatched to South Korea with one task: getting into the presidential Blue House and killing President Park Chung-hee.
But four teenage South Korean brothers, out collecting firewood in the hills north of Seoul, stumbled upon the commandos’ camp.
“Amazingly, instead of ruthlessly disposing of their four unwelcome guests, the officer in charge of Unit 124 arrived at a bewildering decision: the prisoners would be persuaded of the virtues of communism and set free,” recounts the website MilitaryHistoryNow.com.
Of course, the brothers immediately found a police station, and a massive manhunt began.
The commandos, wearing South Korean military uniforms, managed to get within 100 yards of the Blue House before being intercepted. Most of them were killed in the gunfight that ensued, but one was arrested and another escaped, only to kill himself with a hand grenade.
About two dozen South Koreans and four American soldiers were also killed in the incident.