Malaysia pledges to return Kim body after autopsy

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia will return the body of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader, the country’s deputy prime minister said Thursday, as police probing the airport assassination quizzed three suspects.

South Korea says female agents working for Pyongyang poisoned Kim Jong-Nam as he readied to board a flight on Monday.

North Korea has made no comment on the killing, but its diplomats objected to an autopsy Malaysian investigators carried out, a senior official said.

A woman with an Indonesian passport was taken into custody overnight, a police statement said, and was being questioned along with a 28-year-old woman with a Vietnamese travel document detained on Wednesday.

A Malaysian man had also been arrested, Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat told AFP, as detectives tried to get to the bottom of the murder of the estranged playboy brother of Kim Jong-Un.

The portly 45-year-old Jong-Nam had some kind of liquid sprayed in his face after being set upon by two women, Malaysian police have said.

He was rushed to hospital suffering from a seizure, but was dead before he got there.

CCTV images that emerged in Malaysian media, purportedly of one of the suspects, showed an Asian woman wearing a white top with the letters “LOL” emblazoned on the front.

Officers had obtained a seven-day remand order for the first suspect, named as Doan Thi Huong, and for 25-year-old Indonesian passport holder Siti Aishah, Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat told AFP.

Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Zahid Hamidi (R) speaks to media during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, February 16. Two women holding foreign passports have been arrested in the killing of the North Korean leader’s estranged half brother who was reportedly poisoned by a pair of female assassins who assaulted him as he waited for a flight this week in Malaysia, police said Thursday. - AP
Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Zahid Hamidi (R) speaks to media during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, February 16. Two women holding foreign passports have been arrested in the killing of the North Korean leader’s estranged half brother who was reportedly poisoned by a pair of female assassins who assaulted him as he waited for a flight this week in Malaysia, police said Thursday. – AP

Jakarta’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur said they believed Aishah to be an Indonesian citizen “based on preliminary data” and were seeking to give her legal support. Vietnam’s foreign ministry said they were cooperating with the investigation.

Kim’s body was Thursday being held at Kuala Lumpur Hospital following an autopsy, the results of which have not yet been released.

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister told reporters he believed North Korea had put in a request to claim the body through the police and the hospital, and that Malaysia was ready to comply.

“We will facilitate the request by any foreign government although there are procedures to be followed. Our policy is that we have to honour our bilateral relations with any foreign country,” Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters.

The killing would not affect ties between the two nations, he added.

But police chief Abdul Samah said no request had been received and an official at the morgue said they had no indication of who would claim the body.

When North Korea protested the post-mortem examination, “we told them to follow Malaysia’s laws”, a senior official involved with the case told AFP.