Kuala Lumpur airport terminal declared safe after sweep for toxins in wake of Kim Jong Nam killing

Malaysia says the airport terminal where Kim Jong Nam was found murdered by nerve agent is free of hazardous substance after a midnight sweep.
A Hazmat team conduct checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team conduct checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Hazmat team conduct checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team conduct checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Hazmat team conduct checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team conduct checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
Police stand guard outside a partially closed KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.
Police stand guard outside a partially closed KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Malaysia, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Hazmat team prepares its equipment before doing a sweep of KLIA2 airport terminal, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team prepares its equipment before doing a sweep of KLIA2 airport terminal, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Hazmat team prepares its equipment before a sweep outside KLIA2 airport terminal, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team prepares its equipment before a sweep outside KLIA2 airport terminal, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
Police wait for a Hazmat team at a partially closed KLIA2 airport terminal, Feb 26, 2017.
Police wait for a Hazmat team at a partially closed KLIA2 airport terminal, Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Hazmat team conducts checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team conducts checks at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
A Hazmat team conducts checks at a restaurant at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Feb 26, 2017.
A Hazmat team conducts checks at a restaurant at KLIA2 airport terminal in Sepang, Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEPANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) has been declared a safe zone after a screening from police, Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) and Fire and Rescue Department.  

This follows a Chemistry Department analysis that found that the VX Nerve agent had been used to murder Kim Jong Nam, estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at KLIA2 on Feb 13.  

"The joint operations, carried out by the police forensic team, AELB and Fire and Rescue Department Hazmat unit started around 1.45am and ended about an hour later," according to Selangor police chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Abdul Samah Mat.  

"Based on our screenings, we have come to three conclusions that there are no hazardous materials detected, KLIA2 is free from any form of contamination and the airport is declared a safe zone," he told reporters at the airport here early Sunday (Feb 26).  

Commissioner Samah said they chose to carry out the screening as a precaution.  

"We decided to go ahead with the screening at 1.45am as there would be fewer people in the airport and we did not want to cause any unnecessary alarm.  

"Those who attended to the victim after the attack have also undergone examination and they are all okay," he said, adding that no reports have been detected of other people coming in contact with the deadly nerve agent.  

He said the Indonesian suspect who had vomited in the taxi immediately after the attack, has not shown any symptoms while in police custody.  

When asked, Commissioner Abdul Samah said the staff at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur have also been briefed to take extra precautions when in contact with the body of the victim.  

On the raid conducted at a condominium in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (Feb 23), he said police have taken samples and have sent them for analysis.  

"We cannot announce what the substances are but they are related to the four main suspects who fled the country immediately after the incident," he said, adding that the four North Koreans were believed to have rented the unit.  

Commissioner Abdul Samah said police were still probing if the nerve agent was manufactured in Malaysia or smuggled in.  

On the North Korean Embassy staff being investigated, he said police have requested with the embassy for their cooperation.  

"We have given them a reasonable period of time to come forward. If he doesn't turn up, we will turn to other legal provisions to compel his presence," he said.  

When asked if the suspects had been given an antidote for being exposed to the nerve agent, Commissioner Abdul Samah said there were discussions with the hospital to run some tests. 

Kim Jong Nam was at KLIA2 at 8am on Feb 13 to board a flight to Macau, when two women suddenly appeared before him and wiped his face with the palms of their hands which contained a poisonous liquid.  

He sought help at a customer service counter at the airport and was rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way.  

He had come to Malaysia on Feb 6 and carried a passport bearing the name Kim Chol.  

The police had arrested two women - one bearing an Indonesian passport and the other a Vietnamese passport - and two men, one a Malaysian and the other a North Korean, following the murder.

 

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