Kim Jong-nam was assassinated in February 2017 in Malaysia. Most of average North Koreans don’t know the existence of Kim Jong-nam as he has been kept a secret from the public. Some have come to know the secret of the royal family through outside information such as South Korean broadcasts being sent into the north.
A North Korean interviewed in 2007 said that he heard through the South Korea radio broadcast that there are three sons and Kim Jong-nam had been excluded in the succession issue. A North Korean, when talked through cell phone in 2017, even knew that Kim Jong-nam had been to Japan using a fake passport. He said that he had heard the information through the South Korean radio when he was in Hamhung.
Kim Jong-nam faded into the background after the official appearance of Kim Jong-un. North Korea has incessantly kept up on the idolization of Kim Jong-un nationwide. Hopeful voices were heard in the beginning of Kim Jong-un's regime. Criticism of ethics violations from Kim Jong-un have grown, as Jang Sung-thack was executed in 2013 and Kim Jong-nam was murdered. The North Korean on the phone severely criticized the regime, saying, “They shouldn’t have done that! He was his brother! The assassination is just pruning a side branch.”