Everything You Need To Know About Kim Jong-Nam's Assassination At KLIA2

The incident happened on Monday, 13 February.

  • Cover image via CNN
  • Banned chemical 'VX nerve agent' was used to kill Jong-nam, says police

    • The authorities have finally managed to identify the substance used in the alleged assassination of Kim Jong-nam. It is known as 'VX nerve agent', a highly toxic liquid used only in chemical warfare.

      VX nerve agent is a substance listed as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Conventions (CWC) of 1997 and 2005. It is also classified by the United Nations (UN) as a weapon of mass destruction.

      The substance is tasteless and odourless but could be fatal in low dosages.

      The poison was identified in the preliminary analysis of the samples taken from the skin and eye of Jong-nam, who is the half-brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.


  • Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the police are investigating how the toxic substance was brought into the country

    • "We don't know yet (how it was brought into the country). We are trying to find out."

      "But if it is a very small amount, it would have been very hard to detect," he was quoted as saying by The Star.


  • 21 FEB: North Korea accuses Malaysia of threatening and beating up a suspect and his son

    • On Friday, 17 February, the Malaysian authorities arrested a North Korean national, Ri Jong-chol, in relation to the mysterious murder of Kim Jong-nam.

      Following the arrest last week, North Korean ambassador Kang Chol has accused the Malaysian police of threatening Jong-chol and beating up his son when they raided his condominium to make the arrest.

      "Last Friday night, Malaysian plainclothes police raided the condominium of our citizen here in Kuala Lumpur and forcibly arrested him without any warrant or evidence and made it public that they arrested the mastermind before any form of inquiry began.

      "They also aired on TV the scene that (the) said person was arrested in fetters. This is a grave human rights abuse.

      "They even pointed guns at his family members to threaten their lives and beat his teenage son in the face. This is the human rights abuse that can be seen only in US gang films," said Kang Chol, as reported by Malaysiakini, during the 15-minute press conference at the embassy.


  • Kang Chol also took the opportunity to slam Malaysia's request for a DNA sample to release Kim Jong-nam's body

    • "Where can we find out the precedent that the body of the deceased with clear citizenship is released after the DNA sample is provided?

      "As long as the citizenship is clear, his identification is confirmed by the embassy which is in charge of his consular rights and moreover he is a diplomatic passport holder, such request could be regarded as political plot behind the incident," he said.

      It was reported that Kang Chol had refused to take any questions from English-speaking reporters and only spoke to a few reporters who spoke Korean.


  • Ri Jong-chol, from Pyongyang, is the fourth suspect and first North Korean national to be arrested over the assassination of Kim Jong-nam

      • 34c6 Image via Reuters
        First North Korean suspect to be arrested, Ri Jong-chol.
    • Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that the 47-year-old suspect was arrested at around 9.50pm on Friday at his condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama.

      "Based on an i-KAD that he has in his possession, the suspect is identified as with date of birth on May 6, 1970, and a citizen of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK)," said IGP Khalid.

      According to a report by The Star on Sunday, 19 February, Jong-chol is a graduate under the field of science and medicine from a North Korean university.

      He used to work at a research centre in Kolkata, India until 2011 and moved to Malaysia about a year ago when he got an offer to work at an IT company based here.

      The authorities believe that Jong-chol has expertise in chemistry. However, a source said that is is still "too early to conclude that he (Jong-chol) is behind the liquid poison" used to kill Jong-nam.

      "He is also being quizzed on the whereabouts of three other accomplices, who are still at large," added the source.

      Jong-chol is currently under remand for seven days until Friday, 24 February.


      • 8df0 Image via Reuters
        Ri Jong-chol was arrested by Malaysian authorities on Friday, 17 February.
  • The Malaysian authorities are currently on the lookout for four North Korean nationals that are believed to be the masterminds behind Kim Jong-nam's assassination

    • After viewing all the relevant CCTV footage, the Malaysian police have identified four North Korean individuals that were seated at a nearby restaurant in KLIA2 and appeared to be watching the whole incident.

      An airline source apparently told Bernama said that the four men left Kuala Lumpur for Jakarta at around 9.50am, about an hour after the assassination happened.

      Meanwhile, a waitress at the restaurant the North Korean men were at, said that she didn't realise that anything was wrong as it was during peak hours at the eatery.

      "It was our peak period. I don’t think any of us paid any special attention to anyone. We only realised the four were at our restaurant after watching the CCTV footage," she said, as reported by Bernama.

      The four men were sitting only about 50 metres from where Kim Jong-nam was attacked.

      The Indonesian immigration department has confirmed that the four men left Jakarta for Dubai on Monday, 13 February. The authorities suspect that they have fled to North Korea.


  • Meanwhile, the situation at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) is tense, with the authorities tightening the security as they await Kim Jong-nam's son, Kim Han-sol's arrival to identify the body

    • NST reported on 21 February that the authorities have tightened the security at HKL by deploying four our-wheel-drive vehicles carrying more than 10 Special Task Force on Organised Crime (STAFOC) personnel.

      Han-sol was expected to arrive at KLIA2 at 7.50pm yesterday, 20 February, via AirAsia flight AK8321 from Macau to undergo DNA tests and identify the body of the man believed to be of his father.

      It was reported that about 100 members of both local and foreign press gathered outside the hospital hoping to see Han-sol early morning today, but they've yet to catch a glimpse of the 21-year-old man.


  • 17 FEBRUARY: Malaysia will not release Kim Jong-nam's body until his family provides a DNA sample

    • The Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat has informed that Malaysia will not release the body of North Korean leader's half brother, slain Kim Jong-nam, as they are still waiting for his next of kin to provide a DNA sample.

      "So far no family member or next of kin has come to identify or claim the body. We need a DNA sample of a family member to match the profile of the dead person.

      "North Korea has submitted a request to claim the body, but before we release the body we have to identify who the body belongs to," he explained to AFP.


  • After the arrest of two female suspects over the week, the local authorities picked up another person - a 26-year-old Malaysian man, named Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin

    • The third suspect in relation to the murder of Kim Jong-nam was arrested yesterday evening and is believed to be the boyfriend of the Indonesian suspect.

      "The suspect is currently remanded in custody to assist investigations," confirmed Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.


  • In the midst of this, The Guardian reported today, 17 February, that the Indonesian female suspect who is currently under remand, came to Malaysia looking for employment

    • The 25-year-old was caught with an Indonesian passport under the name Siti Aisyah and the Indonesian foreign ministry has confirmed that Aisyah is indeed an Indonesian national.

      It was reported that the struggling mother was previously working at a garment store that was owned by her then future father-in-law, Lian Koing, in West Jakarta. Indonesian news portal, detik.com, reported Kiong saying that Aisyah was married to his son, Gunawan Hasyim and the couple had a son, Rio, in 2009.

      The couple then moved to Malaysia to seek greener pastures. Aisyah found a job as a shopkeeper while Gunawan worked in a restaurant. The couple got a divorce sometime later and Gunawan apparently returned to Jakarta.

      It was also mentioned that Aisyah only sees her 7-year-old son who lives in Jakarta once a year and the last time she visited her family was during the Chinese New Year celebrations in late January.

      According to the Indonesian immigration department, Aisyah left Indonesia for Malaysia on 2 February 2017 via a ferry from Batam to Johor.

      Another unverified report claims that Aisyah was approached by unknown individuals in a nightclub and offered USD100 (RM446) to be a part of a "reality TV prank".


  • 16 FEBRUARY: Police nab another female suspected to have killed Kim Jong-nam

      • A CCTC footage in KLIA2 that shows the female suspect linked to the murder of Kim Jong-nam.
    • The Star reported today that another female suspect in relation to Kim Jong-nam's murder has been arrested by the police. No details have been provided on the arrest so far.

      Yesterday morning, 15 February, the police made the first arrest in relation to the case by catching one of the two women who poisoned Jong-nam to death. She was identified as a 29-year-old named Doan Thi Huong from Nam Dinh, Vietnam.

      Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that Doan was the one captured on the surveillance cameras at KLIA2. The suspect was holding a Vietnamese passport under the name Doan Thi Huong.

      "She was in possession of a Socialist Republic of Vietnam travel document. Suspect was positively identified from the CCTV footage at the airport and was alone at the time of the arrest," said Khalid in a statement, as reported by the Malay Mail Online (MMO).

      It was also reported that she was alone at the time of arrest and had apparently returned to the airport to catch a flight back to Vietnam.


  • Assassination or prank?

    • According to a report by Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the suspect arrested yesterday revealed that she thought the whole incident was a prank. Oriental Daily said that the woman claimed that her travelling partners had asked her to spray the victim as a prank.

      "They told me it was a prank. I did not know it was meant to kill him," said the suspect, as reported by the Chinese daily.

      The suspect said that the four men she was travelling with had asked her to play a prank by spraying the victim, Jong-nam, with a type of liquid while her female companion covered the victim's face with a handkerchief.

      She was said to have been travelling with a female companion and four other men who came to Malaysia as tourists.

      It was also reported that a police source claimed that the women left in a taxi while the four men with them had apparently gone to a hotel in Salak Tinggi.


  • Meanwhile, reports have surfaced on how North Korean officials tried to stop Malaysian authorities from conducting autopsy on Kim Jong-nam's body

    • In a report by MMO last night, it was highlighted that North Korean officials had attempted to talk Malaysian police into releasing the body of Kim Jong-nam without a post-mortem.

      It was said that journalists at the hospital confirmed that North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol and other officials from the embassy arrived at the hospital in the afternoon and stayed there till evening, yesterday.

      Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim told FMT that the Malaysian police will not be giving in to the request of the North Korean officials and it is their job to conduct proper investigations that include an autopsy on the body before they release it.

      "The incident happened here and we have to conduct a thorough investigation and the post-mortem is part of the procedure.

      "Who to claim? We will get right to it after all the procedures are completed. Right now, let us do our job," added Rashid.


  • 15 FEBRUARY, 4PM: Two North Korean women who allegedly assassinated Kim Jong-nam may be dead

      • Bb46 Image via Lim Yun Suk
        Screenshots from the CCTV recordings at the KLIA2 airport showing one of the two women that allegedly killed Kim Jong-nam.
    • Channel NewsAsia reported today, 15 February, that the two women suspected of assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam at KLIA2 on Monday may be dead.

      "There have been reports that (the two suspects) may already be dead," reported Channel NewsAsia according to Japan's Kyodo news channel.

      The Japanese news channel was citing a Japanese government official, who did not provide any other specifications or details on the matter.

      This comes after a South Korean cable television network, TV Chosun reported that Jong-nam was murdered by two North Korean spies who later fled the scene in a taxi.


  • 15 FEBRUARY, 1PM: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam has been killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). The Malaysian authorities have confirmed the incident that happened on Monday, 13 February.

      • 1e00 Image via AP
        Kim Jong-nam
    • The Star reported Selangor CID chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil Ahmat, saying that the incident happened around 9am on 13 February. Kim Jong-nam was at the airport, waiting for his 10am flight to Macau when he was killed.


  • How did the attack happen?

    • Fadzil told Reuters that Kim Jong-nam had first alerted a receptionist at KLIA2, saying that he had been "grabbed from the behind and had liquid splashed on his face".

      "The deceased ... felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind. He felt dizzy, so he asked for help at the ... counter of KLIA," explained Fadzil, as reported by CNN.

      However, Bernama reported Fadzil saying that a woman had apparently "covered Kim Jong-nam's face from behind with a cloth laced with liquid".

      With no clear explanation on how the attack actually unfolded, reports surfaced later suggesting that the attack may have been carried out by two women who splashed toxic liquid on his face or may have used poisoned-needle punctures.

      Fadzil said that the victim's eyes "suffered burns as a result of the liquid" and died on the way to a hospital in Putrajaya.

      In the midst of that, South Korean news channel TV Chosun reported that two women had stabbed Kim Jong-nam with poisoned needles and fled in taxi that the local authorities are currently on the lookout for.


  • "So far there are no suspects, but we have started investigations and are looking at a few possibilities to get leads," Fadzil told Reuters news agency.

    • Kim Jong-nam was travelling using a passport with a different name, Kim Chol, born on 10 June 1971, when the incident happened.

      While the incident happened on Monday, the Malaysian authorities only confirmed the identity of the victim on Tuesday, 14 February due to the fact that Kim Jong-nam was travelling with an assumed identity.

      The Malaysian police only confirmed on Tuesday that the victim is indeed Kim Jong-nam, who was born on 10 May 1971.

      BBC said that this is not the first time the half-brother of the North Korean leader was travelling under a different identity, citing reports of him caught trying to enter Japan with a fake passport in 2001. Kim Jong-nam had allegedly told the officials that he had wanted to visit the Tokyo Disneyland.


  • Just hours after Kim Jong-nam's death was confirmed by local officials, political analysts started speculating on the possible reasons for his alleged assassination

      • 70bc Image via BBC
        The line of succession of the family that has been the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for decades now.
    • An article by the New York Times (NYT) yesterday, 14 February spoke in length of how Kim Jong-un may have ordered the assassination of his estranged-half brother. Kim Jong-nam was bypassed for succession in favour of his youngest half-brother, current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, when their father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011.

      "Maybe Kim Jong-nam was about to do something drastic that would either compromise the regime or the family. By the nature of things in North Korea, the fact that he is in the bloodline represented a threat," opined Jae H. Ku, director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

      Meanwhile, Lee Sung-yoon, a North Korea expert at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, speculated that Kim Jong-un may have ordered for his half-brother to be killed because China may have been supporting the idea of him as a replacement for Kim Jong-un who has allegedly caused an international crisis with missile launching and threats of nuclear weapons tests.


  • "Kim Jong-nam reportedly has been Beijing’s favorite, which may mean one day the Chinese Communist Party may overthrow Kim Jong-un and install Kim Jong-nam," said Lee Sung-yoon

    • Reports suggested that Kim Jong-nam fell out of favour after the Tokyo Disneyland incident in 2001. However, some analysts in South Korea say that Kim Jong-nam was pushed aside from the succession race as his mother, Sung Hae-rim was rejected by his father and former North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il who apparently favoured Kim Jong-un's mother, Ko Young-hee.

      Kim-Jong-nam was exiled by his father, while his brother was being groomed to be the next leader of North Korea. He lived in Macau till late 2011 and eventually went into hiding, with reports claiming that it was out of fear for his life and that his half-brother saw him as a threat to his regime.


  • While the authorities continue to investigate the mysterious situation surrounding Kim Jong-nam's death, multiple reports have surfaced on the extensive numbers of execution ordered by Kim Jong-un ever since he came to power in 2011

    • South Korea's Institute for National Security published a report at the end of December 2016 alleging that Kim Jong-un had personally ordered the execution of 340 people since he came to power.

      The report explained that most of the public executions are carried out with a single bullet, while some have been known to be executed by anti-aircraft weapons, flame-throwers, and even a mortar round was used once.

      "Kim Jong-un and his aides are murderous commanders, and many times the agents of the reconnaissance staff of Kim Jong-un have made attempts of poisoning Kim Jong-nam," said Jihyun Park, a North Korean defector based in Manchester, as reported by The Telegraph yesterday, 14 February.

      "The fate of Kim Jong-un, his aides, and those who obey North Korean dictators, will disappear on the day Pyongyang's regime collapses," added Ms Park, who's currently a human rights activist.

      The North Korean state-controlled media has made no comments on the incident so far.


  • This is a developing story. Watch this space for updates.

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