Kim Jong Nam died 15 to 20 minutes after attack, says Malaysian minister

Members of Malaysia's Hazmat team conduct a decontamination operation at the departures terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 26, 2017.
Members of Malaysia's Hazmat team conduct a decontamination operation at the departures terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Mr Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, died 15 to 20 minutes after he was attacked with the VX nerve agent, Malaysian Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam told reporters on Sunday (Feb 26).

Mr Kim likely died a painful death, due to his body's quick reaction to the poison, which is classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

"It (VX agent) did it so fast that all organs were affected," said Datuk Seri Subramaniam. "Within a few minutes he had symptoms."

Malaysian authorities confirmed on Friday that Mr Kim died after being poisoned with VX.

Two female suspects were caught on CCTV footage wiping some liquid on Mr Kim's face at the Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb 13 as he was preparing to board his flight to Macau.

"He died in the ambulance but fainted in the clinic. From the time of onset, the time of application, 15 to 20 minutes," Mr Subramaniam said.

The minister dismissed the possibility of treating Mr Kim due to the high dosage suspected to have been wiped on his face.

"It makes treatment very, very difficult because it's very complex," he said.

 

Mr Subramaniam also said that autopsy report has been completed and will be handed to the police next week.

Malaysian police have arrested two women - an Indonesian and a Vietnamese - and a North Korean man in connection with Mr Kim's death. Police are looking for seven more suspects, all North Koreans.

Malaysian authorities have requested Interpol's assistance to track down four of the suspects who fled the country immediately after the attack. The other three suspects are believed to still be in Malaysia. All seven have been identified, including a diplomat with the North Korean embassy and an employee of North Korean airline Air Koryo.