Kim Jong Nam murder: 5 seconds was all it took to poison him

A news programme showing how the alleged assassination of Kim Jong Nam took place is shown on a TV screen in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, South Korea, on Feb 15, 2017.
A news programme showing how the alleged assassination of Kim Jong Nam took place is shown on a TV screen in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, South Korea, on Feb 15, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR - It took no more than five seconds for two assailants said to be North Korean agents to administer what is believed to be poison on Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Monday (Feb 13), Malaysian daily New Straits Times reported.

Kim, 45, was standing in a small crowd in front of the airport's self-service check-in counter when his purported female assailants struck, the report said.

One of them stood in front of him to distract him while the other locked him from behind in a chokehold, and administered the poison that killed him soon after, the report said.

It suggested that the operation was captured on the multitude of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras positioned strategically throughout the departure hall.

Subsequent movements of the female assassins after the job was carried out were also filmed by the cameras, it said.

 

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The NST learnt that the assailants moved separately. It is understood that the first female suspect who was arrested at the same airport on Wednesday was the one who had apparently finished the job of killing Kim.

She is a 28-year-old who holds a Vietnamese passport that identifies her as Doan Thi Huong. She was wearing a skirt and a top with "LOL" emblazoned across at the time of the apparent assassination. 

CCTV footage of her appeared to show that she had on her left hand a dark-coloured glove as she walked briskly down to the taxi stand for her getaway. By the time she reached there, it was no longer on her.

A second woman, a 25-year-old who holds an Indonesian passport, has also been detained in connection with the death.

Identified by Malaysian police as Siti Aishah from Serang, west of Java island, she as well as the first female suspect were on Thursday ordered by a Malaysia court to be remanded for seven days to help with the probe.

Federal Police Special Branch director Mohamad Fuzi Harun told the NST that his men were working on intelligence to narrow down all leads.

"We have reason to believe that this might be the work of foreign agents. "There are definitely other individuals involved, apart from the two assailants," he said.

The NST learned that there is a likelihood that one of the assailants is a man who had disguised himself as a woman.

The man could be a 40-year-old agent from the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean intelligence agency that manages the state's clandestine operations, reported NST, without citing any source.

It said the CCTV footage shows Kim appeared to be able to walk normally soon after the assault. He headed to the washroom, but soon turned back to the information counter to seek help.

A female employee, understood to be an AirAsia staff, accompanied him to a clinic at the airport.

The NST saw footage of Kim, who was wearing a dark blue collared polo T-shirt, light blue jeans and brown shoes, slumped in an armchair. He eyes were shut and he appeared to be grimacing in pain.

The newspaper also understood that Kim, who carried a diplomatic passport, had been in the country for more than a week before his planned return trip to Macau

Staff at the KLIA taxi counter where the first, Vietnamese suspect had bought a coupon for her ride, told NST there was nothing "really off" about her. Even so, CCTV footage suggested she was anxious to get away from the crime scene. Police have since traced the cabbie who picked her up.

Meanwhile, a source close to the post-mortem process on Kim's body at Kuala Lumpur Hospital told the NST that there were no puncture wounds on his body or face, but he apparently suffered from high blood pressure at the time of death.

The source added that Kim’s tissue, urine and blood samples had been sent to the Chemistry Department as well as Universiti Sains Malaysia’s laboratory in Penang for analysis. Results may take up to a week.