Three North Koreans cleared over Kim Jong Nam death

North Korea held nine Malaysia citizens after their country refused to release the body of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of current North Korea President who was killed in Malaysia.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police had recorded statements from North Korean Embassy Second Secretary, Hyon Kwang-song, 44; Air Koryo employee Kim Uk-il, 37; and, Ri Ji-u or James at the North Korean Embassy building in Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara here before they left for their country of origin yesterday.

Following the development, the prime minister said Malaysia had now allowed North Korean citizens in the country to leave.

North Korea is widely suspected to have orchestrated Mr Kim's murder with a nerve agent in Kuala Lumpur's airport.

He added that "hardline conservative figures like Ted Cruz", the Republican Senator for Texas, were insulting the "supreme dignity" of Kim by proposing to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

A paramilitary policeman guards the entrance to the North Korean embassy in Beijing, early Friday, March 31, 2017. Malaysia said Thursday i. "From the passport, we knew that this person, Kim Chol hailed from North Korea", he said, when met at One City, here today. "Their official came. They identified the deceased to us as Kim Jong Nam". North Korea has denied having anything to do with the killing and has slammed Malaysia's investigation as flawed and politically motivated.

The three men left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on Thursday on a flight that also carried the body of Kim Jong Nam.

Kuala Lumpur enacted a tit-for-tat exit ban on North Koreans.

The other North Koreans named by Malaysian investigators are all back in North Korea.

The two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese national, have been charged with his murder under Section 302 of the penal code, which carries the death penalty under local law. But he told reporters Friday, "Legally speaking, Kim Jong Un is the next-of-kin".

Kim Jong Nam, who had been living in exile in the Chinese territory of Macau for several years, survived an attempt on his life in 2012, according to South Korean lawmakers.

The attack outraged Malaysia and sparked a diplomatic row with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is officially known, resulting in travel bans on both sides and a collapse in their long-standing friendly ties. North Koreans who had been blocked from leaving Malaysia were free to go, and the nine Malaysians headed home on a flight out of Pyongyang.

Nine Malaysians freed by Pyongyang arrived home early Friday, after Kuala Lumpur agreed to send back the body of the assassinated half-brother of North Korea's leader, ending a bitter feud between the two countries.

After the murder, a video from the victim's son Kim Han-sol, confirmed that the family were in hiding.

  • Leroy Wright