'Important person' wanted over Kim Jong Nam murder, says Malaysia police chief

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said they "could be" North Koreans but refused to name the VIP.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said they "could be" North Koreans but refused to name the VIP.PHOTO: AFP

MALACCA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An "important person" is among several people Malaysia police are looking for to assist in the Kim Jong Nam murder probe, the country's police chief said on Sunday (March 19).

However, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar declined to reveal details on the individuals. He said they "could be" North Koreans but refused to name the VIP.

"I can't reveal much but there are few more individuals we are after, apart from the three North Koreans who are believed to be holed up at their embassy in Kuala Lumpur," he said after launching a donation drive for retired policemen in conjunction with the 210th Police Day celebration at Taming Sari.

"But I cannot reveal who they are, except to say that we believe one of them is an important person," he told reporters.

Police had previously said the North Korean embassy's second secretary Hyon Kwang Song, 44, and Air Koryo employee Kim Uk Il, 37, were among the suspects.

A warrant of arrest has been issued for Uk Il and a letter requesting Hyon's cooperation was sent through Wisma Putra and delivered to the embassy.

The third suspect is Ri Ji U, 30, also known as James. Little is known about him.

 

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"Matters on the latest pursuit on several other individuals are under wraps to avoid any speculation," Khalid said, adding that the more individuals are being sought apart from the seven suspects.

Police had earlier obtained an Interpol red notice for the arrest of four other North Koreans believed to be involved in the killing of Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The four are Ri Ji Hyon, 33, Hong Song Hac, 34, O Jong Gil, 55, and Ri Jae Nam, 57.

They entered the country separately days before the incident on Feb 13 and left for Jakarta from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) just after Jong Nam's assassination.

Jong Nam was killed at KLIA2 with what police have confirmed as the VX nerve agent.

Two women - Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aisyah - were charged with the murder on March 1.