VX nerve agent that killed Kim Jong Nam never emerged in Malaysia before: Deputy health minister

Members of Malaysia's Hazmat team conduct a decontamination operation at the departures terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang on Feb 25, 2017.
Members of Malaysia's Hazmat team conduct a decontamination operation at the departures terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang on Feb 25, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) - The VX nerve agent found on the face of North Korean Kim Jong Nam, who was murdered in Malaysia on Feb 13, was never found in Malaysia before, Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahaya said today.

He said the VX nerve agent is a chemical weapon that could paralyse the nervous system and anyone in contact with it could die in half an hour due to breathing failure.

He said it was difficult to detect the nerve agent if brought into the country is small amount.

"This is the first time we come across VX. We never have it and only knew about it through reading," he told reporters after opening a seminar on empowering Malay traditional medicine on Sunday (Feb 26).

Last Friday, Inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the chemical 'Ethyl S-2-Diisopropylaminoethyl Methylphonothiolate' or VX nerve agent was used in Jong-nam's murder.


GRAPHIC: REUTERS

Jong Nam was at the KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) 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.

Jong Nam 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.