On 13 February, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Kim Jong-Nam, was assassinated at KLIA2
While the police are busy with the manhunt for the killers, netizens are concerned as the authorities apparently had no idea that Kim Jong-Nam was travelling with a fake passport until his death
When news broke that a North Korean died in an attack at KLIA2, it was reported that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) identified the dead man as 'Kim Chol', who was born in Pyongyang on June 10, 1970.
Kim Chol could have died as an "unknown person" until the authorities found out his real identity - Kim Jong-Nam - much later.
The North Korean Embassy only confirmed today, 16 February, that the identity of the North Korean man who died on Monday was indeed Kim Jong-Nam.
Kim Jong-Nam had also used a fake passport in the past, but he was caught by the authorities
Back in 2001, Kim Jong-Nam had attempted to enter Japan using a fake passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland. He was travelling on a forged Dominican Republic passport using a Chinese alias, Pang Xiong, which means "fat bear".
However, the Japanese authorities thwarted his scheme and he was deported under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act before being flown to Beijing, China in a commercial plane.
Mystery surrounds how Kim Jong-Nam was killed, but this incident only leads to the bigger question here: "How did he enter Malaysia with a fake passport?"
The short answer: Diplomatic passport.
A source told The Star that Kim Jong-Nam was believed to have entered Malaysia using a diplomatic passport - a valid travel document. A diplomatic passport holder could bypass the biometrics check at the immigration, the source said.
According to the source, the passport with the number 8364100 carried the name of a North Korean named Kim Chol, who first entered the country on 6 February.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has also confirmed the matter today, 16 February, that Kim Jong-Nam had indeed travelled using a North Korean passport issued under the name 'Kim Chol'. It is said that the passport was an authentic one.
Responding to the issue, Zahid has stressed that Malaysian airports are safe
"Our airports' safety is at the highest level. We are equipped with high definition cameras. This is a very, very isolated case," he was quoted as saying by The Star.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has also maintained that the current security level is good.
"It (the death) has nothing to do with airport safety. We have very good airport safety," he told reporters on Tuesday, 14 February.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has also insisted that Kim Jong-Nam's attack was an "isolated incident"
The airport authority said that the security and safety of all local airports were taken seriously and that it is studying ways to increase security measures to ensure that such incident does not occur again.
"That was an isolated incident. We do not know how it happened yet but we are always monitoring our security systems," MAHB chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah was quoted as saying by Malay Mail Online.
It was reported that MAHB has already taken steps to beef up security by deploying plainclothes police officers following Kim Jong-Nam's assassination.
Kim Jong-Nam's attack at KLIA2 is just one of the recent incidents that have made people question the level of security in Malaysian airports
The police recently arrested an Indonesian permanent resident who works as a security guard at Malaysia Airlines, for his connections to Malaysian IS militants fighting in Syria.
The Indonesian, who had been staying in Malaysia for 34 years, were arrested together with an airsoft gun.
According to media reports, the guard was believed to have worked at the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah airport in Kuantan, Pahang since 2015 and before that, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for 11 years.
What's alarming is that the suspect had easy access to many things related to airport security due to his position
"The suspect’s scope of duties … for the airline’s safety operations was anti-pilferage, anti-sabotage, anti-hijacking," counter-terrorism deputy commissioner Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told Channel NewsAsia.
"He had full access to ... Malaysia Airlines aircraft, including the cockpit, to carry out inspections," Ayob added.
It was revealed that the guard was also responsible for sealing and locking up aircraft parked overnight at the airport until they took off the next day.
According to counter-terrorism expert Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, who heads policy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, called the incident a "classic case of an insider threat". Commenting on the issue, he also said that airport security may be compromised by radicalised "insiders working within the system".
Do you think the authorities need to tighten the security at Malaysian airports? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.