World

Kim Jong Nam assassination: Speculation swirling over identities of women

Speculation swirling over identities of women who killed Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia

SEOUL: A day after the assassination of Mr Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Mr Kim Jong Un, speculation has swirled over the possible motive and the two women killers.

The portly and gregarious Mr Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, was assaulted on Monday morning in the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport and died on the way to hospital, Malaysian police said.

He was on his way to Macau.

Even as Japanese news agency Kyodo, citing a Japanese government official, reported that the women may "already be dead", Malaysian police yesterday arrested a woman holding Vietnam travel papers.

Twitter was also abuzz over a tweet by ABC News' Seoul bureau chief Joohee Cho claiming that Malaysian police had found the bodies of two women believed to be the operatives. Malaysian police have yet to confirm this.

"He (Mr Kim Jong Nam) told the receptionist... someone had grabbed his face from behind and splashed some liquid on him," Selangor state's criminal investigation chief Fadzil Ahmat was reported as saying by The Star newspaper.

Said Mr Fadzil: "He asked for help and was immediately sent to the airport's clinic. At this point, he was experiencing headache and was on the verge of passing out.

"At the clinic, the victim experienced a mild seizure. He was put into an ambulance and was being taken to the Putrajaya Hospital when he was pronounced dead."

DETAINED

The woman detained at the Kuala Lumpur airport was identified from CCTV footage at the airport and was alone when she was apprehended, police said.

Media had earlier published a grainy CCTV-captured image of a young woman wearing a white shirt with the letters "LOL".

Her documents carried the name of Doan Thi Huong, showed a birth date of May 1998 and birthplace of Nam Dinh, Vietnam, police said.

"Police are looking for a few others, all foreigners," Deputy Inspector-General Noor Rashid Ibrahim told Reuters, declining to give their nationalities or gender.

A post mortem on Mr Kim's body was completed yesterday evening despite objections from North Korean officials in Malaysia, Malaysian government sources said.

The North Korean officials requested that the body be released to them right away, but Malaysia rejected the request, several sources said.

Recently, South Korea had tried to negotiate Mr Kim's defection but failed, The Korea Herald reported.

Mr Cheong Seong Chang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, said that report could have angered Mr Kim Jong Un, prompting him to order assassination of someone he viewed as "real threat" to his leadership. - WIRE SERVICES


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