World

North Korean man arrested in connection to Kim Jong Nam murder

A fourth person has been arrested in connection to the murder of Mr Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Malaysian police said on Saturday (Feb 18) that they had arrested a 46-year-old North Korean man, Ri Jong Chol. He was in possession of a Malaysian i-Kad, which is an identification card given to foreign workers, they added.

The arrest was made during a raid on a condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama at about 11pm on Friday (Feb 17).

Three more suspects are being hunted by police.

On Thursday, Indonesian Siti Aisyah was arrested at a hotel in Ampang at 2am. Police said she was identified based on CCTV footage at the airport and was alone at the time of arrest.

Her boyfriend was also picked up by police to assist with investigations

On Wednesday, the first suspect, who holds a Vietnamese passport bearing the name Doan Thi Huong, was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) as she was preparing to board a flight to Vietnam. She had taken a taxi from a hotel in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi to the airport that day.

Mr Kim Jong Nam, 45, was killed by two women who splashed his face with a chemical at the KLIA 2 departure hall at about 9am on Monday. He was about to leave for Macau.

DIPLOMATIC ROW

North Korea said in the early hours of Saturday that it would categorically reject Malaysia’s autopsy report on the death of Kim Jong Nam, and accused Malaysia of “colluding with outside forces”, in a veiled reference to rival nation South Korea.

Malaysia hit back by saying the country’s rules must be followed. The foreign ministry has yet to make any comment.

Health minister Dr S.Subramaniam told state news agency Bernama that Malaysia was waiting for the toxicology report to complete the autopsy.

He said the autopsy report would hopefully be released“within this week”.

The case threatens to weaken North Korea’s ties with Malaysia, one of the few countries that has maintained good diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Nam was assaulted at the low cost terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday with what is believed to be fast acting poison before he could board a flight to Macau. He sought help but died on the way to the hospital.

North Korea demanded on Friday night that Kim Jong Nam’s body be released immediately. It had earlier tried to persuade Malaysian authorities not to carry out an autopsy. “The Malaysian side forced the post-mortem without our permission and witnessing,” the North Korean ambassador Kang Chol told reporters outside the hospital where the body of Kim Jong Nam is being kept. “We will categorically reject the result of the post mortem ... “

He said Kim Jong Nam had a diplomatic passport and was under the consular protection of North Korea.

- WIRE SERVICES

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