Indonesian suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder speaks Korean, plans to act in movie in North Korea

Siti Aisyah is one of the two women who allegedly attacked Mr Kim Jong Nam with a deadly chemical. She had told her friends and family in Indonesia that she had been invited to act in a movie.
Siti Aisyah is one of the two women who allegedly attacked Mr Kim Jong Nam with a deadly chemical. She had told her friends and family in Indonesia that she had been invited to act in a movie. PHOTO: DETIK.COM

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An Indonesian suspect who has been arrested for the high-profile murder of Mr Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korea's leader, speaks Korean and has always wanted to go to North Korea.

From the slums of Jakarta, 25-year-old Siti Aisyah moved to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur and has now become embroiled in a murder that has gripped the world's attention.

She had told her friends and family in Indonesia that she had been invited to act in a movie.

"She said the shooting would take place in North Korea," a friend of Siti Aisyah told Indonesian portal Detik.com. However, she did not give them the details.

"I don't know the details, she just said it was for a DPR office (North Korea). We ordinary people just listened to what she was saying," said the friend, identified only as AZ.

Siti Aisyah is one of the two women who allegedly attacked Mr Kim Jong Nam with a deadly chemical.

She worked as a guest relations officer (GRO) at a spa in Ampang although she told family and friends in Indonesia that she had a job "selling tickets".

Her nightlife job was hidden from her family in Indonesia, where she has a seven-year-old son named Rio. He lives with her former in-laws.

But one thing that Siti Aisyah's mother Benah did know was that her daughter could speak English and Korean.

"I never knew she worked in Malaysia," said the 50-year-old woman, who thought her daughter was selling clothes at a market in Batam after divorcing her husband Gunawan Hasyin alias Ajun.

She said the last time Siti Aisyah went back to her village in Serang, near Jakarta, was on Jan 21. She had been sending money to her mother.

"Usually it's 500,000 rupiah (S$53). But not every month," she told Detik.com.

 

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Siti Aisyah's former mother-in-law told Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials on Friday (Feb 17) that she and her family had no relationship with Siti Aisyah after the divorce.

A sealed handwritten letter of the divorce note dated Feb 1, 2012 was handed to the Foreign Ministry. Signed by Siti Aisyah and Gunawan, the letter said they had opted for a divorce as they no longer "had the compatibility and harmony of husband and wife".

After the divorce, Siti Aisyah hardly visited her former in-laws in Tambora in West Jakarta, and only came around once a year to meet her son.

"The last time she came was on Jan 28... She spent the night with my grandson and left the next day," her former mother-in-law was quoted as saying.

She added that Siti Aisyah's son had previously refused to meet his mother because he knew she would leave eventually.

Another Indonesian news portal Kumparan reported that based on identification records held by her village of birth in Angke, west Jakarta, she had two separate entries.

In the first one, her name is spelt as "Siti Aisyah" with information saying that she was born in Serang, Indonesia, on Feb 11, 1992. In the second entry, her name was written as "Siti Aisah" and her date of birth is listed as Nov 1, 1989.

The identification numbers as well as her occupation on both entries differed.

As "Siti Aisyah", she listed her occupation as entrepreneur; as "Siti Aisah", she listed her occupation as housewife.

Kumparan quoted Angke village head Dwi Ariyono as saying he did not know why the woman had two separate IDs.

Siti Aisyah was arrested at a hotel in Ampang on Thursday after she was identified on CCTV footage from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2).

Among the items seized by police in the room included three US$100 notes.

She was the second suspect detained for allegedly murdering Mr Kim Jong Nam. The first suspect was a woman who held a Vietnamese passport, identifying her as Doan Thi Huong, 28.

Siti Aisyah's Malaysian boyfriend, Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, 26, was also arrested on Wednesday.

Indonesia's Deputy Ambassador to Malaysia Andreano Erwin said that the embassy in Kuala Lumpur had been unable to meet Siti Aisyah as of Friday afternoon.

"We are still waiting for permission from the Malaysian authorities to see her," he said.