Kim Jong-nam killing: suspects smeared hands with poison

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 22, 2017

"(The government) has to check the terror-response posture at related agencies such as the (state) anti-terrorism center once again, and make thorough efforts to protect defectors", Hwang said during a regular Cabinet meeting.

Friction began last week when Malaysia reversed an earlier decision to unconditionally repatriate Kim Jong Nam's body to Pyongyang.

The estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader was killed with what was thought to be a fast-acting poison.

He was at the budget terminal of Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport preparing to fly to Macau.

CCTV footage, reportedly from the airport, appears to show a woman approach Mr Kim from behind before wiping fast-acting poison on his face. Both he and the high-level embassy official remained in Malaysia, he said.

The man who has been arrested is 47-year-old Ri Jong Chol, who is said to have a background in chemistry and to have studied in India.

South Korean intelligence believes the North Koreans carried out the assassination to eliminate Kim Jong-nam, who as older brother could be a possible successor to Kim Jong-un, even though he lived in exile and had distanced himself from the domestic politics of North Korea. North Koreans don't need a visa to work in Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos.

North Korea has objected to Malaysia carrying out a post-mortem, and to the singling out of North Korean suspects.

Najib said Malaysia had no reason to "paint the North Koreans in a bad light" but added, "We expect them to understand that we apply the rule of law in Malaysia".

On Feb. 22, Malaysian police identified two more suspects: a senior North Korean Embassy official and a staffer with Air Koryo, North Korea's state airline.

Muhammad Fuad Othman, a lecturer in global politics at Universiti Utara Malaysia, said diplomats would need to be seen to respond to the killing - which Seoul has said was orchestrated by Pyongyang.

Malaysia's police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, said police "strongly believed" four others were back in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, having fled Malaysia on the day of the attack.

North Korean ambassador Kang Chol had said his country "cannot trust" Malaysia's handling of the probe into the death. Indeed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang firmly presented a "third-party" stance in response to questions about Kim's slaying at a briefing on February 21 "We hope the parties involved will resolve issues appropriately through dialogue and negotiations", Geng said.

In 1983, for example, North Korea bombed a mausoleum in Myanmar during a visit by South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan.

The diplomatic row erupted after North Korea insisted Kim Jong-nam's body be returned and objected to an autopsy. No next-of-kin has come forward.

What's the latest in the murder case?

Khalid said the women clearly knew that they were involved in a serious situation, with security camera footage showing them rushing to the bathroom immediately after the attack to wash the toxic substance off their hands.

"I think you have seen the video, right?"

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