N. Korea envoy given 48 hours to leave Malaysia

The expulsion of the North Korean Ambassador comes on the heels of a decision by Kuala Lumpur to rescind visa-free travel for North Koreans to Malaysia. He told VOA that the reason Kim Jong Nam was killed was "the North Korean leadership wanted to make sure there is not an alternative readily available (to replace) Kim Jong Un".

Four others are thought to have fled to Pyongyang on the day of the murder.

"He, accompanied by two representatives of the North Korean embassy, are scheduled to depart to their native country today", Mustafar Ali, director general of the Immigration Department said in a statement.

Ri Jong Chol, a North Korean, accused Malaysia of using coercion to try to extract a confession from him.

United States and South Korean officials have accused North Korean agents of masterminding the murder of Kim Jong Nam.

However, no proof of Pyongyang's connection to the murder of Kim has been found yet.

Malaysia's deputy prime minister and home minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said authorities would also investigate a North Korea-linked company that is suspected of operating a sanctions-busting arms business in Malaysia.

Anifah said this was "an indication of the government's concern that Malaysia may have been used for illegal activities".

Police accuse the pair of having wiped VX nerve agent, a weapon of mass destruction and banned around the world, on Kim's face at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13.

Pyongyang - which has never acknowledged Kim's identity - has denied the charge and disputes the autopsy, claiming Malaysia is in cahoots with its enemies.

Police say he suffered a seizure and died less than 20 minutes later, without reaching hospital.

Two women, one Vietnamese and one Indonesian, have been arrested over the murder.

Mr Ri was detained four days after the attack, but police did not say what his alleged role in the attack was.

The company Ahmad Zahid referred to is Glocom, described by Forbes as a front company that helps North Korea evade global sanctions. Experts say the oily poison was nearly certainly produced in a sophisticated state weapons laboratory, and North Korea is widely believed to possess large quantities of chemical weapons including VX.

"North Korea is now looking at using Malaysia as a gateway to South-East Asian markets as it finds the country business-friendly with pro-business policies", he told the Star Online. Others sought include the second secretary of North Korea's Embassy and an employee of North Korea's state-owned airline, Air Koryo.

  • Joanne Flowers