Indonesian suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder partied night before assassination, friend says

Siti Aisyah, one of the suspects arrested in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia.
Siti Aisyah, one of the suspects arrested in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia. PHOTO: EPA/ROYAL MALAYSIA POLICE

Friend of Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah believes she was framed, but Malaysian police chief dismisses the claims

PETALING JAYA - Siti Aisyah, the Indonesian woman arrested in connection with the killing of Kim Jong Nam, had a wild night out with her friends to celebrate her pending success as an Internet celebrity just a day before she participated in what she said was a "prank for a reality show", according to a report.

Malaysia's The Star newspaper, citing a report in the China Press daily, said Siti Aisyah's friends chipped in to throw a birthday party for her at a well-known night club in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 12, just a day before she said she was set to participate in the prank. 

Siti Aisyah's birthday was on Feb 11.

In a video shown to the daily, Siti Aisyah laughed and covered her face shyly when her friends commented that she was going to be a "big star". 

"I do not believe Siti Aisyah would kill someone just for money," said one of her close friends, who spoke to China Press on condition of anonymity. "It is impossible. I think she has been framed," said the friend, adding that she was shocked when Siti Aisyah was named as one of the suspects who killed Kim.

 

Kim Jong Nam was the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Siti Aisyah was one of the two female suspects who police said wiped Kim's face with a deadly chemical at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13. She was nabbed three days later.

She had told Indonesian embassy officials that she was paid RM400 (S$126) to take part in what she thought was a prank, and that she was under the impression the liquid given to her was baby oil.

The friend told China Press that Siti Aisyah did not know him and had no motive to kill him.

Although she had no way of finding out the truth, she believed that Siti Aisyah was innocent.

"She is a very simple person and hoped to one day break into the entertainment industry. I knew of her ambition about a year ago," she said.

She added that she hoped Siti Aisyah would be released soon and reunited with her family in Indonesia.

However, Malaysia's Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar on Monday dismissed the claims that Siti Aisyah had been framed. 

“People can say whatever they want, but our investigation shows otherwise. The reason we are still detaining her and the other suspects is not because we are basing it on a hunch or suspicions plucked from thin air," he was quoted saying by the Malaysiakini news website. “We are holding them based on what our investigation has found, and the investigation is thorough and extensive,” he said. 

He also reiterated that the two women had undergone training and carried out trial runs before the attack. 

His comments followed criticism from North Korea last week over Malaysia's handling of the murder probe. North Korea has also backed the women's claim that they had been part of a prank.