Kim Jong-Nam’s Assassination
February 28, 2017
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Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam was assassinated by two women at a Malaysian airport while waiting for his flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau. According to Selangor State Criminal Investigations Department Chief Fadzil Ahmat, Jong-Nam “felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind,” then began to feel dizzy and sought medical assistance at an airport customer assistance counter. At the clinic, staff decided to call an ambulance in which he died on his way to the hospital.
South Korea stated they believed Jong-Nam’s death to be murder, and specifically placed the blame on North Korea. On February 15, the chairman of South Korea’s National Assembly Intelligence Committee, Lee Cheol Woo, gave a statement to reporters saying Kim Jong-Nam had been poisoned with two Asian females being the primary suspects.
Police in Malaysia arrested the first two people in connection to the murder the same day. A 30-year-old Vietnamese woman named Doan Thi Huong was detained at the airport. The other, 26-year-old Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin, was detained in the city of Ampang, and also helped the police locate another suspect: his girlfriend, 25-year-old Indonesian Siti Aisyah. Aisyah was arrested at 2 a.m. local time the following day.
Aisyah told the police she believed she was a participant on a prank show and had sprayed three or four others in the airport in a similar manner. The Indonesian police say she was given a few dollars for the job and was unaware she would be part of an assassination plot.
After the news broke out, Malaysian authorities announced an autopsy would be conducted as part of the investigation, which North Korean officials later stated would be unacceptable without their own officials allowed to witness the procedure.
Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysian chief police, said he did not need North Korea’s permission to conduct the autopsy, but that authorities would conduct a second autopsy if requested by Jong-Nam’s family.
The Chemistry Department of Malaysia identified the substance used in the assassination as a VX nerve agent that was present in both Jong-Nam’s eyes and facial area. It was concluded that this chemical was in the wipe given to Aisyah when she was allegedly told she was on a prank show. Once she had wiped his face, according to Dr. Subramaniam Sathasivam, the effects would not have taken effect until 15-20 minutes.