Kim Jong Nam murder: Four male suspects 'named'

Indonesian defendant Siti Aisyah is escorted by police personnel following her appearance at the Malaysian Chemistry Department, on Oct 9, 2017.
Indonesian defendant Siti Aisyah is escorted by police personnel following her appearance at the Malaysian Chemistry Department, on Oct 9, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Four male suspects accused of being involved in the murder of Mr Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, were identified for the first time in a Malaysian court yesterday.

Investigating officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz disclosed the names and roles of the four suspects, who are accused of having the common intention to murder Mr Kim. Two women - Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28 - are accused of executing the attack at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

Mr Wan Azirul said the names of the four were revealed by both women during initial police investigations.

"The four are Mr Chang, James, Mr Y and Hanamori alias Grandpa-Uncle," he said. According to the charge sheet, these four men remain at large.

A series of closed-circuit television (CCTV) videos was played in court that showed the accused women with two unidentified men who are believed to have provided the deadly VX nerve agent used to kill Mr Kim.

Doan was seen walking in the airport with a man wearing a cap, while Siti Aisyah was seen meeting another man, also with a cap on, at the Bibik Heritage restaurant less than an hour before the attack.

The men's faces, however, could not be clearly seen.

"The man (seen) walking together with Doan is referred to as Mr Y," said Mr Wan Azirul, adding that the man had smeared a liquid, believed to be VX, onto Doan's hands.

In another clip, Siti Aisyah was seen entering the restaurant to meet a man identified as Mr Chang. The court was told that Mr Chang had also smeared the oily substance on her hands.

According to Mr Wan Azirul, the man named James is suspected of recruiting Siti Aisyah, and Hanamori, nicknamed Grandpa-Uncle, is suspected of giving orders to Mr Y.

But he did not say whether the four suspects were the four North Koreans who the police said had left Kuala Lumpur for Pyongyang on the day of the killing.

The four North Koreans identified by police as Ri Ji Hyon, Hong Song Hac, O Jong Gil and Ri Jae Nam are the subject of a red notice issued by Interpol, the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant.

The trial is scheduled to resume on Oct 24 after a visit to the crime scene on the same day.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2017, with the headline 'Kim Jong Nam murder: Four male suspects 'named''. Print Edition | Subscribe