Kim Jong Nam knew his life was ‘in danger’ months before murder

SHAH ALAM: The half-brother of North Korea's leader expressed fears for his life months before he was assassinated in Malaysia, a court heard on Tuesday.

The new detail emerged at the trial of two women, Siti Aisyah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam, who are accused of murdering Mr Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13 last year.

Defence lawyers have argued that the women were recruited to take part in what they thought were prank TV shows but were tricked into becoming assassins in a plot by North Korean agents.

The women, in their 20s, have denied carrying out the murder of Mr Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother by smearing a nerve agent on his face as he waited for a flight to Macau. They face death by hanging if found guilty.

The High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, heard that someone Mr Kim knew in Malaysia, Mr Tomie Yoshio, would send his driver to pick up the North Korean when he came to the country and drive him around.

During cross-examination of the police chief investigating officer, Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said Mr Yoshio "would direct (his driver) Ahmad Fuad to take Kim Chol at the airport and send him wherever he wants to go".

Mr Kim was carrying a North Korean passport in the name of Kim Chol when he was killed, and during the trial he is still sometimes referred to by that name.

Mr Gooi said this was because Mr Kim told Mr Yoshio "my life is in danger" six months before the murder.

"I am scared for my life, and I want a driver,"Mr Kim was quoted by the defence lawyer as telling Mr Yoshio.

The officer being grilled, Assistant Superintendent Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz, agreed this was true based on Mr Yoshio's statement to police.

Mr Gooi also accused the authorities of not having thoroughly investigated four North Koreans allegedly involved in the killing. The four suspects are accused of tricking the women into carrying out the murder before fleeing Malaysia. - AFP