SEOUL – South Korea said on Wednesday (March 8) that it is checking the authenticity of a YouTube video showing a man who claims to be the son of North Korean Kim Jong Nam who was murdered in Kuala Lumpur last month.
The video was posted on the website and YouTube page of Cheollima Civil Defence, a Korean group that claims to be protecting Mr Kim’s family.
The man in the video, speaking in English, said he is Kim Han Sol, the 22-year-old son of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“My name is Kim Han Sol… from North Korea, part of the Kim family…here is my passport,” he said, holding his passport closer to the camera but with the details blocked out.
“My father has been killed a few days ago. I’m currently with my mother and my sister. We are very grateful to …,” he said, before the audio was muted.
At the end of the video, he said: “We hope this gets better soon.”
South Korea’s Unification Ministry told The Straits Times that it isaware of the video and cannot confirm its authenticity.
North Korean expert Cheong Seong Chang, who saw the video, said the man looks like Kim Han Sol.
“But I can’t understand how he can be smiling when his father has been killed, ” he told The Straits Times.
Dr Cheong, a senior research fellow at local think tank Sejong Institute, said that Cheollima Civil Defence is an unknown organisation until now. Cheollima Civil Defence said on its website that it “responded last month to an emergency request by survivors of the family of Kim Jong Nam for extraction and protection. The three family members were met quickly and relocated to safety.
“We have in the past addressed other urgent needs for protection. This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed.”
The organisation did not say why the video was made and uploaded on YouTube.
Very little is known about Cheollima Civil Defence, and a search for the name on Goggle and Korean search engine Naver did not yield many clues.
The whereabouts of Kim Han Sol are not known, though reports said that he and his family are being protected by the Chinese government.
Malaysia said Mr Kim Jong Nam was killed after two women – a Vietnamese and an Indonesian -smeared the highly toxic VX nerve agent on his face at the airport on Feb 13. The women have been charged with murder.
South Korea has alleged that the North Korean leader ordered the assassination of his half-brother.
Malaysian authorities are still waiting for DNA samples from the next of kin to confirm the identity of the man.
Malaysian police have said they will protect Mr Kim Han Sol should he travel to Malaysia to identify his father’s body.
North Korea has rejected the assassination charge and accused Malaysia of conspiring with its enemies. The two countries have expelled each other’s ambassadors and barred their citizens from leaving the countries.