HONG KONG - The wife and children of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was sensationally murdered this week in Malaysia, have been placed under police protection in Macau, South China Morning Post reported on Friday (Feb 17).
Macau's secretary for security Wong Sio Chak said in a statement that he would not reveal any details about the case or the eventual security measures being taken to protect Kim's relatives, but said that the authorities were paying close attention to the development of the case, reported SCMP.
"The authorities continue making their utmost efforts - in a lawful manner - to protect the safety and legitimate rights of all Macau residents, visitors and people staying in Macau," the note read according to the report.
Kim's second wife, Lee Hye Kyong, son Kim Han Sol, 21, and daughter Sol Hui who is believed to be 18, have been living in the former Portuguese colony, whereas his first wife and son reside in Beijing.
A Macau source, who knows Lee, told SCMP: "She is very simple, always in good spirits and a very open person ... but we never talked about North Korea."
Both Han Sol, who studied in Bosnia and France, and Sol Hui were raised and educated in international schools in Macau.
"The kids had a very normal childhood, they were very active, attended activities ... it wasn't like they we hiding or anything," the source said.
"Until now, they had always felt safe in Macau," the source told the Post.
Although Kim used to travel very often, another source was cited as saying that the children had a fairly close relationship with their father.
"Whenever the son had a problem, I know that he would seek help from him," a source said.
The Macau family is said to have kept a low profile.
A neighbour, who lived two houses away from Kim's former oceanfront villa in Cheoc Van, Coloane, about 10 years ago, told SCMP: "He already lived there when I moved to that house. At first, I did not know who he was… I only realised it when I saw some news in the newspaper."
"He used to wear sunglasses. He would leave home and enter his car and vice versa ... always had expensive cars," the ex-neighbour said.
According to the former neighbour, Kim would never speak to others and rarely had guests. "He wouldn't look at anybody ... never greeted me," the source said. "Never saw his wife or children, but I remember there were one or two men, whom I believe were security guards, near the house," he described.
From time to time, the source said, Kimwould not be seen for a few weeks.
Although he might have been a reserved neighbour, friends in Macau described Kim as a relaxed and an open man, who appreciated food and wine as well as an occasional bet in the city's casinos.