World

Malaysian police accused of brutal tactics

Malaysia, North Korea in war of words over airport assassination

KUALA LUMPUR The verbal salvos came fast and furious as Malaysia and North Korea descended deeper into diplomatic acrimony over the assassination of Mr Kim Jong-Nam.

The half-brother of Mr Kim Jong-Un, the leader of the totalitarian state, was killed after he was splashed in the face with a poisonous liquid thrown by a woman at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

North Korea's Ambassador to Malaysia, Mr Kang Chol, accused Malaysian police of brutal tactics in the treatment of the only North Korean arrested in the killing.

Four other suspects, all male, are believed to be back in North Korea. (See report right.)

Mr Kang accused Malaysian police of threatening the family of Mr Ri Jong Chol with guns, and also beating up the man's teenage son when they raided his condominium in Kuala Lumpur, reported the Star.

"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," he said.

"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," he told a press conference in front of the North Korean Embassy yesterday afternoon, just before he left for the Foreign Ministry after he had been summoned.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry issued a statement while Mr Kang was still in the Foreign Ministry building to meet Deputy Secretary-General 1 Raja Nurshirwan Zainal Abidin.

The strongly worded statement said Malaysia viewed the baseless allegations levelled by Mr Kang as a serious attempt to tarnish the country's reputation, reported the Star.

The Foreign Ministry's statement said the Malaysian Government had been transparent regarding the death of Mr Kim Jong-Nam.

The North Korean Embassy, the statement said, had been kept informed of developments related to the matter as well as the processes involved under Malaysian law.

"The Malaysian Government takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation," the statement said.

Things took another dramatic turn when Mr Kang gave a press conference after his meeting with the Foreign Ministry.

He said the police investigation could not be trusted and insisted the victim was not Mr Kim Jong-Nam.

Mr Kang told reporters the embassy had only ever identified the victim as Kim Chol, based on the passport carried by the dead man, reported Reuters.

Soon after this, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, speaking for the first time on the matter, said his country has no reason to paint North Korea in a bad light and will be objective in its inquiry into the death.

Mr Najib said that he expected North Korea to understand that Malaysia had to apply the rule of law in the case, reported the New Straits Times.

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