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North Korea’s state killings

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If North Korean agents are responsible for the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, it would be the latest in a long line of targeted killings by the isolated state.

Kim, whose younger brother Kim Jong-Un has ruled North Korea since the death of their father in December 2011, died after reportedly being poisoned by two female agents at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday.

Here are some other fatal attacks carried out by North Korea on foreign territory.

– 1968 Blue House assault –

At the height of the Cold War, a team of 31 commandos were sent from Pyongyang to assassinate then South Korean president Park Chung-Hee.

They were stopped some 100 meters (330 feet) away from the presidential Blue House. Gunfights erupted and more than 90 South Koreans were killed including many civilians on a bus.

Only two of the 31 commandos survived, one fled to the North and one was captured.

– 1974 presidential attempt –

In 1974, Park, late father of the current South Korean president Park Geun-Hye, survived another assassination attempt.

A pro-Pyongyang Korean living in Japan, Mun Se-Gwang, opened fire with a revolver while Park was delivering a speech.

He missed Park but killed Park’s wife Yuk Young-Soo. Mun was executed that year.

– 1983 Myanmar –

North Korean undercover agents killed 21 people, including four South Korean cabinet ministers in a bomb attack in Yangon.

A timed device planted under the roof of the city’s Martyr’s Mausoleum was intended to kill then South Korean president Chun Doo-Hwan.

It exploded before the president arrived, but his entourage was badly hit.

Three North Korean agents fled the scene, one was killed and two others were captured by Burmese authorities.

– 1987 Korean Air –

A South Korean plane flying from Baghdad to Seoul exploded over the Andaman Sea. All 115 people on board were killed.

The two bombers were traced to Bahrain where a male agent committed suicide by biting a cyanide capsule hidden in a cigarette as they were about to be taken into custody.

The other agent, Kim Hyon-Hee, was captured and brought to Seoul. She later confessed her attack had been aimed to hamper the 1988 Seoul summer Olympics. She was sentenced to death but later pardoned.

– 1996 diplomat killing –

South Korean diplomat Choi Duk-Keun was found bludgeoned to death in Vladivostok in 1996 in what South Korean media said was revenge for the death of 25 North Korean submariners who died when their vessel ran aground in the South during an infiltration attempt.

– 1997 family affair –

Yi Han-Yong, a nephew of Jong-Nam’s mother Sung Hye-Rim, was fatally shot in 1997 outside his home. The two assailants were never caught.

Yi had been living in the South since his 1982 defection, where he had published his memoir revealing details of the Kims’ private lives. That book was believed to have been the trigger for the assassination.



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