When Kim Jong-nam was a boy, his father, the dictator of North Korea, sat him on his office chair and said, “When you grow up, this is where you’ll sit and give orders.” If the child had fulfilled that promise—if his half brother, Kim Jong-un, had not ultimately usurped his throne—he would have tyrannized 25 million people. His pudgy finger would have caressed the launch buttons of nukes. America and China would have debated how to manage him.
But as Jong-nam glanced up at the departures board in the international airport of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the jostling crowd ignored him. He had become just another overweight 45-year-old, the bald spot that he usually hid with a cap showing through his remaining hair like a bull’s-eye.
Still, the two beautiful young women destined to kill him picked out their mark.
As Jong-nam sauntered toward the closest AirAsia self-check-in kiosk at 8:59 A.M. on February 13, an Indonesian woman in stylishly torn jeans and a gray sleeveless top slipped out from behind a pillar. She covered his eyes as if playing peekaboo and then wiped her hands over his mouth, leaving an oily smear.
“Who are you?” Jong-nam demanded.
“Sorry! Sorry!” she answered before disappearing into the crowd.
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