Indonesian and her boyfriend held over killing of Kim Jong Nam

Officials leaving the forensic department of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital yesterday. A total of three people have been arrested so far in connection with the assassination of Mr Kim Jong Nam.
Officials leaving the forensic department of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital yesterday. A total of three people have been arrested so far in connection with the assassination of Mr Kim Jong Nam.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister confirms identity of dead man; body will be sent back to North Korea later

Two more suspects, including an Indonesian woman, have been detained in connection with the death of Mr Kim Jong Nam, the elder half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

One was an Indonesian woman by the name of Siti Aisyah, while the other was her boyfriend Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, a 26-year-old Malaysian. A woman holding a Vietnamese passport was the first to be detained.

Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that the Malaysian "is currently remanded in custody to assist investigation".

However, police say he is not one of the main suspects involved in the attack on Mr Kim, who is suspected to have died from a liquid poison administered by two women at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Monday.

"The third suspect is still being questioned to find out how much he knows about his girlfriend's activities," Selangor state's police chief, Datuk Abdul Samah, told The Straits Times.

Indonesian diplomats have met the woman arrested in Malaysia and confirmed she is an Indonesian citizen, officials said yesterday. The 25- year-old Indonesian from Serang, west of Java Island, was detained by Malaysian police in the early hours of yesterday, while her boyfriend was nabbed on Wednesday evening.

 

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Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi confirmed separately that the man found dead on Monday, who was travelling by the name of Kim Chol, was Mr Kim Jong Nam. "He carried two different identities. Probably this is an undercover document," he told reporters. Mr Kim was carrying documents with two different names and held a passport by the name of Kim Chol, 46.

While the authorities await lab results from an autopsy completed on Wednesday, Datuk Seri Zahid said that as Mr Kim still held North Korean citizenship, his body will be sent back to his homeland as requested.

"We will facilitate the request by any foreign government, although there are procedures to be followed. Our policy is that we have to honour our bilateral relations with any foreign country," he said.

Malaysia and North Korea have close ties, with citizens not needing visas to travel to each other's countries. Malaysia exports palm oil to the communist regime, while 80 North Koreans work in construction and mining in Sarawak - based on a report last year.

Mr Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had been living in exile since the death of his father in 2011. Known to reside in Macau, the younger Mr Kim is reported to have had businesses in Malaysia.

He was headed for Macau when the attack happened.

The authorities are still looking for suspects and investigating Mr Kim's death, which many analysts say is likely the result of an execution order by Mr Kim Jong Un.

On Wednesday, police arrested a 28-year-old Vietnamese woman by the name of Doan Thi Huong. The Vietnamese authorities are working with Malaysia to clarify information about the case, Vietnam News Agency yesterday reported the Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesman Nguyen Phuong Tra as saying.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Indonesian and her boyfriend held over killing of Kim Jong Nam'. Print Edition | Subscribe