Malaysia police identify North Korea embassy official as suspect in murder case

Jong Nam was at the klia2 at 8am to catch a flight to Macau when he was attacked by two women, one of whom covered his face with what was believed to be a poison-laced cloth. "And we can assure you of the impartiality of the investigation itself because there is no reason for us to be sided with anybody", Mohamad said.

"The medical, legal specimens were handed over to the investigating police officer immediately after the postmortem examination to be sent to the accredited laboratories for analysis".

If no next of kin comes forward within a fortnight, police have said they would consider other options for the body.

Police inspector general Khalid Abu Bakar said the women had practiced the act several times and were aware of the toxic nature of the chemicals.

The cause of Mr Kim's death has baffled leading forensic toxicologists, who study murder by poison.

Some type of nerve gas or ricin, a deadly substance found in castor beans, have been suggested as possible toxins used. It has also called into question the identity of the victim. Surveillance footage instead shows Kim walking calmly downstairs to the airport's clinic.

The estranged, exiled half-brother of the North Korean leader is said to have been "paranoid" before his death, fearing that his brother would order his assassination, or that someone would try to kill him in a bid to impress the North Korean leader.

"We are in the process of identifying the two others sought to assist in the investigations", said Noor Rashid. Malaysia has laid out clearly the procedures it follows, including full autopsies and eventual release of the body to the family, after DNA confirmation.

The investigation has strained Malaysia's hitherto friendly relations with North Korea. A White House official commented that the USA government had no plans to meet with North Korea. "We hope the embassy will cooperate with us and allow us to interview them quickly or else we will compel them to come to us", he said.

Isolated North Korea has a long history of ordering killings of people it views as threats to its regime.

Determining the cause of Kim Jong Nam's death has proven hard.

Malaysia's Star newspaper reported that all four had returned to North Korea.

Jong-nam, who is the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had come to Malaysia on Feb 6 and carried a passport with the name of Kim Chol. The Vietnamese woman works at an entertainment outlet and the North Korean man works in the information technology department of a Malaysian company.

"From our investigation we now know that they have made a few exercises to do that", said Bakar. "She was scared of rats and toads".

Her niece, 18-year-old high school student Dinh Thi Quyen, said she believes Huong was duped into taking part.

He said the women had practiced the attack at two Kuala Lumpur malls. Those arrested include two women who were allegedly seen approaching Kim on February 13 as he stood at a ticketing kiosk at the budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur airport.

In addition to the woman in the white shirt, the Fuji TV footage also showed that another woman approached Kim before the pair walked away in different directions. He was at the airport to fly to Macau, where he had a home.

  • Leroy Wright