Is North Korea Pushing Assassination Story to Blame CIA for Kim Jong-nam Murder?

I would love to see what “evidence” the Kim regime has gathered on this supposed assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un to warrant an extradition request:

Pyongyang will seek the extradition of anyone involved in what it says was a CIA-backed plot to kill leader Kim Jung Un last month with a biochemical poison, a top North Korean foreign ministry official said Thursday.

Han Song Ryol, the vice foreign minister, called a meeting of foreign diplomats in Pyongyang on Thursday to outline the North’s allegation that the CIA and South Korea’s intelligence agency bribed and coerced a North Korean man into joining in the assassination plot, which the North’s Ministry of State Security has suggested was thwarted last month.

The North’s state media have been running stories about the plot since last week. The security ministry has vowed to “ferret out” anyone involved in the alleged plot, which it called “state-sponsored terrorism.”  [Associated Press]

I am beginning to think that maybe the Kim regime is pushing this story for domestic consumption in order to make it appear that the CIA killed his older brother Kim Jong-nam?  The defector groups have been sending balloons across the border informing North Koreans of the murder of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia.

By claiming the assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un used a bio-chemical substance that makes it appear the same group that killed his older brother was trying to kill him too.  Though I think these claims are targeted towards a domestic North Korean audience, the claims may have some carry over effect internationally as well. Considering how there are still people who don’t believe the North Koreans sunk the Cheonan, there will probably be people who think the CIA is behind some plot to kill the Kim family as well.

Two Women Arrested for Murder of Kim Jong-nam Claim They Did It for a $100

Here is the latest in the murder of Kim Jong-nam:

Two prime female suspects arrested in the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam are brought to Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the Malaysian capital Friday morning for an on-site reenactment of the crime. [SCREEN CAPTURE FROM WEIBO]

They wiped the deadly liquid on his face, darted into the bathroom to wash their hands and then left the scene.

That is how two women detained in investigations into the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam have described their actions at KLIA2 on Monday morning. It has since become one of the most high-profile murders to have occurred in Malaysia.

The women – Indonesian Siti Aisyah and another holding a Vietnamese passport under the name of Doan Thi Huong – led a police team to the airport at about 1am yesterday to re-enact Monday’s attack on Jong-nam.

It is learnt that the two suspects led the police team to Level 3 of the departure hall and told police what happened.

Both women described their actions of wiping a type of liquid on the face a man who they claimed they did not know.

“They claimed they left the area once it was done,” said sources, adding that the women then went to a nearby restroom to wash off the liquid.

It was unclear whether the women wore gloves or even used a piece of cloth to carry out the attack.

Siti Aisyah also told police that she was offered US$100 (RM445) by a man to carry out the act, which she believed to be a prank on a man.

The man who paid her and three others – all foreign men – were seen on CCTV footage at the airport with Siti Aisyah and Thi Huong.

It is learnt that the hunt for the four men, believed to be the “brains” behind the attack on Jong-nam, is still ongoing.  [The Star]

It seems to me that if these two women knew they had just committed a murder they would not have took the time to wash their hands, they would have just gotten out of the airport as quickly as possible.  It seems to me their claim of being duped into the killing may have validity.

Back in South Korea there has been a lot of speculation of why North Korea would use to foreigners to kill Kim Jong-nam:

If the Indonesian suspect was, in fact, involved in the assassination, it adds another question to the web of mysteries surrounding Kim’s death: why did Pyongyang hire foreigners?

A North Korean defector in South Korea who has knowledge of the communist regime’s intelligence tactics told the JoongAng Ilbo that a North Korean couldn’t have been able to pull off the job because they have so much reverence to the Kim dynasty, a result of ceaseless indoctrination from the North Korean leadership. That reverence extends to Kim Jong-nam, even though he was passed over as heir apparent and lived in self-exile outside North Korea.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

I don’t believe this claim; I think it has more to do with plausible deniability for the North Koreans.  If the Malaysian authorities don’t catch the four operatives that put these two women up to the assassination then there is no evidence to connect North Korea to the crime.  So anyone wanting to put additional sanctions or add them back to the State Sponsors of Terrorism List would not be able to.

Second Female Suspected Arrested In Malaysia for Murder of Kim Jong-nam

If these women are in fact North Korean agents you would think they would have had a better get away plan because it seems they were both arrested fairly easily:

The second female suspect arrested for the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam, in a yellow shirt and blue pants, is led to a police car Thursday afternoon to be taken to a local police station in Malaysia.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

Malaysian police on Thursday arrested two more persons, including a second female suspect, over alleged involvement in the killing of the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, foreign reports said.Police detained a 25-year-old woman who was holding an Indonesian passport bearing the name of Siti Aishah in connection with Kim Jong-nam’s death, according to a Malaysian police statement. A third male suspect, the Malaysian friend of the female detainee, was also taken into custody, the Associated Press reported.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

UPDATE #1:

As it turns out at least the 2nd women arrested is not a North Korean, but is a confirmed Indonesian national:

One of the female suspects had Vietnamese travel documents and was picked up Wednesday at the budget terminal of the airport, the same place where the attack took place. The other woman held an Indonesian passport and was arrested early Thursday.

Indonesian diplomats met with that suspect and confirmed she is an Indonesian citizen, officials said. Authorities identified her as Siti Aisyah, 25, originally from Serang in Banten, a province that neighbors the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Indonesian Immigration Office spokesman Agung Sampurno said officials from the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur met with the woman in Selangor state, where she is being held, and ensured she is in safe condition.  [Associated Press]

It makes me wonder if these women were some how duped into carrying out the act by the actual North Korean agents who have not been arrested yet?

UPDATE #2:

It is looking like the two women involved in the attack are not North Korean agents, but instead women from the area recruited by North Korean agents who may not have been aware of what they were doing:

The suspect, who wore a white sweater with LOL printed on it in large letters, was captured on camera shortly afterwards waiting for a taxi at the exit.

Malaysian police said the woman has confessed to killing Kim with another Vietnamese woman and four men with North Korean passports. A search for the others is under way.

Reports said the six suspects all fled the scene and converged at a hotel just a 15-minute drive from the airport. The men apparently watched from a restaurant on the airport’s shopping concourse as the two women attacked Kim.

The woman who was arrested told police that all the other suspects fled and she was the only one left behind at the hotel.

Malaysian police conducted a post-mortem on Wednesday. Local reports said the toxin used was “stronger than cyanide.” The North Korean ambassador to Malaysia and other embassy staff watched the autopsy.

The South Korean government identified Jong-nam’s body on Monday. “He had foam in his mouth, which is a characteristic sign of poisoning,” a government official here said.

The suspect told police that she came to Malaysia to travel with the other woman and was approached by the four men, who told them to play a joke on Kim by spraying a liquid on his face, according to a local newspaper report. [Chosun Ilbo]

This explanation seems plausible to me considering how easily both women were arrested compared to the four men who still have not been arrested.  Pretty smart by the possible North Korean agents because using the women gives the Kim regime plausible deniability of not being behind the assassination.

One Woman Arrested After Assassination of Kim Jong-nam In Malaysia; Kim Was Reportedly Considering Defecting to South Korea

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:

Malaysian police on Wednesday released CCTV footage of a woman who is suspected to be one of at least two agents who assassinated Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. [YONHAP]

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:

Kim Jong-nam was attacked by two women, believed to be North Korean agents. One grabbed him from behind and the other sprayed a liquid chemical on his face, according to Malaysian police. / Yonhap

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.

 

Kim Jong-un’s Older Brother Kim Jong-nam Is Assassinated By Likely North Korean Agents In Malaysia; Is Kim Han-sol Next?

Kim Jong-un was finally able to kill his older brother and he had his agents resort to using poison needles again.  Long time readers may remember that the Kim regime tried to kill ROK Drop favorite Park Sang-hak with a poison needle as well:

Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong-nam

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother has been killed in Malaysia, a government source said Tuesday.

Kim Jong-nam was assassinated on Monday in Malaysia, the source said without revealing details.

Cable TV broadcaster TV Chosun reported that Kim was killed at an airport in Malaysia after being attacked by two unidentified female agents with “poisoned needles.” The suspects fled the scene and Malaysian police suspected North Korea was behind the killing.

If confirmed, Kim’s case would mark the most high-profile death under the Kim Jong-un regime since the execution of Jang Song-thaek in December 2013, the once-powerful uncle of the current leader.

Kim Jong-nam is the eldest son of late former leader Kim Jong-il and is living in a foreign country without holding any official title. He was born from his father’s nonmarital relationship with Sung Hae-rim, a South Korean-born actress who died in Moscow.  [Yonhap]

For those that don’t know it has long been believed that Kim Jong-nam was China’s preferred back up plan if the North Korean regime was to collapse.  With Kim Jong-nam now dead the only Kim’s left to rule North Korea are Kim Jong-nam’s other brother Kim Jong-chul who is considered too lady like to rule the country and his sister Kim Yo-jong is female and thus not a threat either.  Plus both of them are part of his close inner circle where he can closely watch them.

That left Kim Jong-nam as a possible threat for someone looking to replace Kim Jong-un with another Kim and he is now gone.  The only other possible replacement to Kim Jong-un that is not under his control is Kim Jong-nam’s son, Kim Han-sol who has been living in Europe.  I would imagine he is some deep hiding right now after seeing his father executed because he could be next.

Kim Han sol

Kim Han-sol

North Korea Has Apparently Manufactured Report of Foiled Kim Assassination Plot

It appears to me that the Kim regime is using this likely manufactured story as a way to take shots at both the ROK and China as nations that cannot be trusted:

A source in North Korea told Japan press that North Korean soldiers crossed the border with China at Tumen to arrest two suspects planning to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Pictured: A bulldozer and truck cross a bridge into Namyang, North Korea, from Tumen, China. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

At least two suspects who attempted to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were arrested, according to unconfirmed reports in the country.

The suspects had been reportedly arrested at the China border near the Tumen River as they were preparing a hit on Kim in the city of Hoeryong in North Hamgyong Province, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.

A source in the North who spoke to Japanese news service Asia Press on the condition of anonymity said he had heard the “terrorists” had not yet crossed the Tumen, which separates North Korea from China, when North Korean border guards crossed the border to arrest them.

The source went on to say the suspects were transferred to the State Security Department, and that the border guards were given rewards – including a chance to become members of the Korean Workers’ Party.

One of the suspects is allegedly a North Korean defector from the South, but the other one or more were Chinese nationals.

Japanese journalist Jiro Ishimaru, founder of Asia Press, said it is likely a rumor that was manufactured by the state to bolster support for the party ahead of its Seventh Congress in May.  [UPI via reader tip]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Vows to Kill Human Rights Activist

This isn’t the first or will be the last of the assassination threats that North Korea has made against balloon activist Park Sang-hak:

north korea balloon image

North Korea issued a death threat against a defector-turned-activist after he announced a plan to send copies of a satirical Hollywood film about a plot to kill Kim Jong-un into North Korea.

The South Korean government said Thursday it will take necessary measures to protect its citizens.

Last week, Park Sang-hak, who heads the Fighters for a Free North Korea, said he planned to send 100,000 DVDs and USB memory sticks containing the movie “The Interview” via balloons across the border into North Korea to destroy the personality cult build around Kim Jong-un.

He said the Sony Pictures’ movie will have Korean subtitles and he will start sending the balloons as early as late January.

According to the Ministry of Unification, the North aired an ultimatum against Park on Wednesday. Using extremely cruel language, the North’s Pyongyang Broadcasting Station said Park must “go to hell.”

It promised to “bleed him out and gut his intestines.”

“In order to end this tragic reality of national division forced upon our people and homeland by outside forces, we must ruthlessly eliminate those maniacs who encourage inter-Korean confrontations,” the broadcast said. “And the Korean people select Park as the first target.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but hopefully Park Sang-hak has taken the appropriate security measures to protect himself from North Korean assassins.  Back in 2011 a North Korean assassin was arrested before he could carry out his plot to kill Park with poison needles.