More details are coming out about the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the older brother of North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un. Most significant is the fact that Malaysian authorities arrested an Asian woman believed to have been involved in the attack carrying a Vietnamese passport:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother was murdered with poison in Malaysia, multiple sources including South Korea’s spy agency said Wednesday, with the local police tracking down two women and four men who may be implicated in the crime.Kim Jong-nam, 46, was at the airport to take a flight to Macao when he asked the staff for help after interacting with two “Asian” women. Kim died on the way to a nearby hospital.
The Malaysian authorities presume Kim was poisoned, although the details must be revealed through an autopsy.
Local law enforcement authorities have been narrowing down suspects based on security camera footage, with one of the six — an unidentified woman — getting arrested at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The arrested woman, born in 1988, held a Vietnamese passport with the name “Doan Thi Huong.”
“Suspect was positively identified from the CCTV footage at the airport and was alone at the time of arrest,” the Malaysian police said in a release. “Investigation continues and any further actions against suspect/suspects will be taken in accordance with the law.” [Yonhap]
Past assassins also traveled using passports from other countries so this standard operating procedure for the North Koreans. Here is something really strange about the arrest, the woman returned to the airport for some reason and was arrested:
Cameras caught one of the suspected assassins who was wearing a white long-sleeved T-shirt and short skirt with a cross-body bag. She looked like an ordinary tourist seemingly waiting for someone.
The two women were initially believed to be North Korean agents. But the Malaysian police detained one of them at the airport Wednesday morning and said she was holding a Vietnamese passport with the name of Doan Thi Huong born in 1988.
She was the one caught on camera and was alone when detained, according to local police. The woman allegedly fled right after the killing and went to a hotel. Police are investigating why she came back to the crime scene two days later; adding that they are looking for another woman and four men allegedly linked to the murder. They are also confirming whether she is really Vietnamese with diplomats from North Korea and Vietnam. [Korea Times]
It will be interesting to see if the Malaysian authorities give the ROK intelligence services access to this woman for questioning. Here is how the assassination allegedly was committed:
The Star, a Malaysian media outlet, cited a senior police officer in saying that agents “splashed his face with a chemical” in the airport’s departure hall at around 9 a.m. Monday “just before he was to take a flight to Macau.”
Kim Jong-nam was said to have arrived in Malaysia from Macau on Feb. 6.
“He told the receptionist at the departure hall that someone had grabbed his face from behind and splashed some liquid on him,” said Fadzil Ahmad, a senior assistant commissioner who serves as chief of the Selangor Criminal Investigation Department.
“He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport’s clinic,” Ahmad continued, “At this point, he was experiencing a headache and was on the verge of passing out.”
The officer said Kim Jong-nam went through a “mild seizure” and that he was put into an ambulance and was being taken to the Putrajaya Hospital when he was pronounced dead. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
The attack happened while Kim Jong-nam was at a self check-in kiosk:
By the way the reason he was in Malaysia in the first place was because he was allegedly having an affair with a woman there.
The apparent reason for the assassination is that Kim Jong-nam was allegedly considering defecting to South Korea:
Another local North Korean expert claimed that Kim Jong-nam was planning to come to South Korea last year but failed because the South Korean government worried about Pyongyang’s reaction. It’s possible that is one reason Kim Jong-un may have ordered spies to take him out. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
North Korea meanwhile is demanding that Malaysian authorities not conduct an autopsy and that the body be handed over immediately:
North Korean government officials in Malaysia objected to an autopsy being performed on the body of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Malaysian government sources aware of the discussions said on Wednesday.
The officials requested that the body be released to them right away, but Malaysia rejected the request, several sources said.
No decision has been taken on whether the body of Kim Jong-nam will be handed over to North Korea, the sources added.
Malaysian police on Wednesday detained a woman holding Vietnam travel papers, and are looking for a “few” other foreign suspects in connection with the death in Kuala Lumpur of Kim Jong-nam, police said. [The Star – Malaysia]
Finally Kim Jong-nam’s kids are currently all living in either Macau or Beijing to include his oldest son Kim Han-sol who had previously spoke out against the Kim Jong-un regime:
Kim Jong-nam’s wife is currently staying in Beijing with a son, while his second wife is living in Macao with a son and a daughter. All of them are currently under the protection of Chinese authorities.
The son in Macao is Kim Han-sol, who came into the spotlight in 2012 after being interviewed by a Finnish television station. He said he hopes for the unification of the two divided Koreas and wants to improve the livelihoods of ordinary people living in the impoverished country now controlled by his young uncle. [Yonhap]
I would think these kids especially Han-sol will have to keep a very low profile for their rest of their lives because it is pretty clear the Kim regime will kill them if given the opportunity.