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KUALA LUMPUR – Conducting of investigation by outsiders including North Korean agents into the murder of Kim Jong-nam here is against the law, says Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

He said any party that wished to investigate the case, should first seek permission of the Malaysian police as it could disturb the on-going investigation.

“If they want to do investigation here (Malaysia), not only the agents or spies but also the legal authorities need our permission and approval.

“(Any investigation they conduct will be illegal) because they have no power to question people and no power to look at the documents,” he told a press conference after the handing-over of KIA Sorento CRDI SUV 4×4 vehicles to the Royal Malaysian Police in Bukit Aman, here, today.

Khalid was asked to comment on reports that North Korean agents were investigating the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in this country on Feb 13.

Meanwhile, Khalid said he wanted all the suspects holed up in the North Korean embassy here to surrender themselves.

“We want the three individuals sought, who are in there (embassy). We know they are inside (the embassy),” he said.

The three individuals believed to be still at the North Korean embassy are its second secretary Hyon Kwang-song, 44, Air Koryo employee Kim Uk-il, 37, and the third suspect, Ri Ji-u, 30, also known as James.

Last Feb 13, Kim Jong-nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) while waiting to take a flight to Macau.

He was approached by two foreign women who wiped the VX nerve agent on his face. Jong-nam who was using a passport bearing the name Kim Chol, died while being taken to Putrajaya Hospital. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Last Sunday’s embalming of the body of murdered North Korean Kim Jong-nam can help preserve it for up to three months, and is useful if the remains have to be sent to North Korea, according to a Kuala Lumpur Hospital source.

It is learnt that the body was embalmed for fear that it would begin to rot during the wait for the next-of-kin to identify the remains at the hospital mortuary.

Jong-nam was at KL International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13 to board a flight to Macau when two women suddenly appeared before him and allegedly wiped his face with the palms of their hands which contained what was later identified as the VX nerve agent. He was rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way.

The hospital source told Bernama that bodies which were not embalmed could only remain from rotting for between a week and two weeks in the freezer of the mortuary.

“As the investigation into the murder of Jong-nam may take a long time, the management decided to embalm the body to prevent rotting which could jeopardise the probe,” the source said.

It said that if the government decided to send the remains to North Korea soon, the body could be taken there before decomposition set in.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said last Wednesday that Kuala Lumpur Hospital had embalmed Jong-nam’s body to prevent decomposition.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim confirmed yesterday that the next-of-kin of Jong-nam left it to the Malaysian government to manage the remains. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – Malaysian police have obtained the Interpol Red Notice for the arrest of four North Korean nationals in connection with the murder of Kim Jong-nam, said Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

“We have obtained the Interpol notice against them and we are hoping to get them through Interpol,” he said on the latest development in the on-going investigation into the Jong-nam murder case.

An Interpol Red Notice is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today.

Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was allegedly killed by two foreign women who wiped his face with the VX nerve agent while he was waiting to board a flight to Macau at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13.

Jong-nam, who carried a passport bearing the name of Kim Chol, died on the way to Putrajaya Hospital.

Two foreign women, Siti Aisyah, 25, an Indonesian, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 29, were charged at the Sepang Magistrate’s Court on March 1 with murdering Jong-nam.

Khalid when met by reporters at the closing of the International Rohingya Conference, here, today said the four North Korean suspects were believed to be in Pyongyang now.

He said the four suspects were at klia2 during the incident and then left Malaysia.

The four wanted men are Rhi Ji-hyon, 33, Hong Song-hac, 34, O Jong-gil, 55, and Ri Jae-nam, 57.

They had entered Malaysia separately days before the murder.

Khalid said Jong-nam’s body had been handed over to the Health Ministry and Foreign Ministry to deal with it. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA: The family of Kim Jong-Nam has been given a time frame of three weeks to claim his remains, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam.

He said once the period is over, the government will decide on the next course of action.

Subramaniam added that Wisma Putra is trying to contact Jong-Nam’s next-of-kin.

“We have been told that he has wives and children. We hope that they respond and come forward to claim the body now that it is confirmed that the murdered victim is Kim Jong-Nam,” he said.

He revealed that the government is ready to take the next course of action if the body is not claimed.

“In the absence of family we will address it as a government through the Prime Minister’s department, the Home Ministry, and the Health Ministry,” he said at a press conference today.

He said the government will proceed with the next step after two to three weeks. – The Sun

BALIK PULAU – The Health Ministry has yet to decide on the body of Kim Jong-nam, a North Korean murdered in the country on Feb 13, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.

He said thus far there was no regulation limiting the length of time the body could be kept in a hospital.

“There is no time limit to claim the body, and as this is a high-profile case, we should not rush to make any decision. The Ministry will decide on the next course of action,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after launching the Balik Pulau Jamboree 2017 at Balik Pulau Polytechnic, here today.

In respect of whether the body should be surrendered to his next-of-kin, Dr Hilmi said if there was any death, according to the country’s law, the remains should be handed over to the deceased’s family.

He said that if the deceased was not claimed by his next-of-kin, the body then could be buried in Malaysia.

Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police handed over Jong-nam’s body to the Health Ministry for the next course of action as no next-of-kin had come to claim his body so far. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is taking a serious stand and fully determined to get to the truth on the assassination of a North Korean national, widely reported as Kim Jong-nam, at KL International Airport 2 (klia2) recently, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said the government was also determined to prosecute those responsible for what had happened.

“I would like to say that a crime has been committed in Malaysia, and we also realise that the material used is a very dangerous chemical substance that should not be used at all, because if (the substance) used in large quantities, it will lead to the deaths of many, not just one person,” he said.

Najib said this in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya News Channel in conjunction with the Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud’s recent historical state visit to Malaysia.

Malaysia was the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ first country of visit in Southeast Asia since his ascension to the throne in 2015.

In the interview, conducted by Al Arabiya’s general manager Turki Aldakhil, which covered wide range of topics, particularly on Kuala Lumpur-Riyadh ties, Najib was asked on the latest development in the murder investigation of Jong-nam, elder half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the klia2 on Feb 13.

It was reported that Jong-nam was waiting for his flight to Macau at the klia2 when two women suddenly wiped his face with a liquid which was later identified as the VX nerve agent.

Jong-nam reportedly sought help at a customer service counter at the airport and was rushed to Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way. He had used a passport bearing the name Kim Chol.

Stressing a point, the Prime Minister said the authorities needed to conduct a DNA examination to ascertain the identity of the deceased.

“This is a common procedure and we are waiting for the DNA samples to identity the corpse.

“So we cannot hand over the body as long as we cannot determine without doubt the identity of the victim or the deceased,” he added. – BERNAMA

BANGKOK – The murder of Kim Jong-nam at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) three weeks ago, has somewhat rekindled the interest of a Japanese association in a mysterious incident which occurred 39 years ago.

On Aug 20, 1978, four young Malaysian women and one Singaporean woman disappeared mysteriously after they were asked by a “Japanese” man to join a party on a boat off the republic’s coast.

The four Malaysian women who disappeared without a trace until now are Yeng Yoke Fun, 22, Yap Me Leng, 22, Seetoh Tai Thim, 19 and Margaret Ong Guat Choo, 19, while the Singaporean was Diana Ng Kum Yim, 24.

Although the Kim assassination and the disappearances occurred nearly four decades apart, they share one uncanny similarity – that of deep suspicion that North Korean agents were behind the crime, committed allegedly on orders from their supreme leader.

“We should investigate the case again (the 1978 disappearance incident). We are willing to assist relatives of the four Malaysian women in finding more information,” said the Association for the Rescue of North Korea Abductees (ARNKA) director Tomoharu Ebihara.

Despite the scant information available on the four Malaysian women, and a gap of 39 years since the day of the incident, he remains optimistic that someday, he and his colleagues will unravel the mystery.

According to Ebihara, information on the possible existence of Malaysian abductees in North Korea was derived from the testimony of South Korean actress, Choi Eun-hee, and former American soldier, Charles Robert Jenkins.

Eun-hee was abducted in Hong Kong in 1978, while Jenkins deserted his unit and crossed into North Korea in 1965 and lived in the Communist country until 2004, before travelling to Japan to link up with a woman.

“According to Jenkins, he saw a picture of Yoke Fun (one of the women who disappeared in Singapore) and remembered meeting a similar woman at an amusement park in Pyongyang between 1980 and 1981,” said Ebihara.

Eun-hee who had lived in Pyongyang until 1986, said she heard from a woman that a Malaysian couple lived in a separate residence in Pyongyang during her stay in North Korea’s capital.

“That is the only information we have on the possible abductees from Malaysia,” Ebihara said, adding that information provided by Eun-hee and Jenkins is credible.

According to Ebihara, citizens from 12 countries are alleged to have been kidnapped by North Korean agents, including from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Jordan, Lebanon, Romania and France.

He said non-governmental organisations in Japan believe about 300 Japanese were abducted by North Korean agents, although the official tally given by the government is 18.

Hundreds of South Koreans were also allegedly abducted by North Korean agents.

Thai abductee, Anocha Panjoy, was abducted in July, 1978, while she was working in Macau, allegedly by the same “Japanese” man who was behind the kidnapping of the Malaysian and Singaporean women a month later.

The “Japanese” man is believed to be a North Korean agent.

According to Ebihara, although it is difficult to pinpoint the motive behind the abductions, it is strongly believed that the abductees were used as language or cultural teachers for future North Korean agents, among others.

“They (women abductees) were also kidnapped to become wives of foreign abducted men,” he said, citing Jenkins, who was married to Japanese abductee, Hitomi Soga.

Thai abductee Panjoy, said Ebihara, is also believed to be married to another foreign abductee, according to information provided by Jenkins. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is in close contact with the Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), particularly regarding the recent incident
involving the death of a North Korean national at Kuala Lumpur National Airport 2
(klia2).

According to Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement, the OPCW has provided the
Malaysian authority with some technical materials that were requested to assist
in its investigation.

“The OPCW has further indicated its commitment to provide further assistance
as required,” the statement said.

The ministry also said that the government would fully cooperate with the
OPCW and other international organisations to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The toxic chemical ethyl S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate
or VX nerve agent, listed as a chemical weapon, was used in the murder of North
Korean Kim Chol, widely reported to be Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother
of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, on Feb 13.

It was reported that Kim Chol was at klia2 on Feb 13 to board a flight to
Macau when two women wiped his face with toxic liquid which was later identified
as ‘VX’ nerve agent.

Kim Chol sought help at a customer service counter in the airport and was
rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital but died on the way. He had arrived in Malaysia
on Feb 6.

Wisma Putra stressed that Malaysia was greatly concerned over the use of
the toxic chemical (nerve agent) listed in Schedulue 1 of Convention on the
Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical
Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC) as well as the Chemical Weapons
Convention Act 2005.

“Malaysia does not produce, stockpile, import, export or use any Schedule 1
toxic chemicals including VX and has complied with all its obligation under the
CWC,” it said.

The ministry strongly condemned the use of such a chemical weapon by anyone,
anywhere and under any circumstances.
— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: North Korea continues to reject the claim that its citizen “Kim Chol” died of poisoning and insists it was a heart ailment that killed him.

To add to the intrigue, it accuses South Korea of being behind the poisoning claims.

“We have information that Kim Chol suffered from heart disease and was not fit to travel without his medication,” said Ri Tong-il, North Korea’s former ambassador to the United Nations who led a high-powered delegation to Malaysia.

The delegation also identifies the dead man as Kim Chol and not Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Tong-il cited post-mortem examinations conducted by Malaysian health authorities which revealed that “Kim Chol” died of a heart attack.

“Medication for diabetes and high blood pressure were found among his belongings,” he said.

He said the story of VX nerve agent being used to kill the victim was a ruse concocted by South Korea.

“How did South Korea know about the use of the chemical weapon from the very beginning when we didn’t? This means they knew it was going to happen. This is something that the international community needs to answer,” he said.

Tong-il also questioned why the two women accused of the murder – Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aisyah – were still alive if they had handled the toxic chemical with their bare hands.

“How can a single person at an airport with tens of thousand of people not be affected? Not a single one – including the doctors and nurses who attended to the victim,” he said.

Tong-il said VX is well-known for its high toxicity and great penetration power.

“It has been categorised as a chemical weapon and any victim is doomed to die,” he said.

Tong-il said if VX had indeed been used, samples should be sent to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and tested.

“If proven, they then should identify who made it and brought it to Malaysia to be passed to the two female suspects,” he said.

Tong-il said the delegation would continue to ask to see the victim’s body.

“Since we arrived, we’ve had meetings with Cabinet members to settle humanitarian issues particularly the return of the body to North Korea and the release of an arrested North Korean citizen,” he said.

Requests were also made to meet with the two female suspects and its own citizen Ri Jong-chol.

“We are waiting for these meetings to be realised,” he said.

In an immediate response, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police have their own experts, who are qualified to determine the North Korean’s cause of death.

“Our investigations and expert reports confirmed that ‘Kim Chol’ was murdered. North Korea can say what it likes but the facts remain,” he said.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Wisma Putra said on Friday it strongly condemned the use of the toxic nerve agent VX, which authorities say was used to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Kuala Lumpur International airport last month.

Kim Jong-nam, 45, (pic) was murdered on Feb 13 at the airport’s budget terminal with the VX nerve agent, a chemical classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

“The Ministry strongly condemns the use of such a chemical weapon by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances. Its use at a public place could have endangered the general public,” it said in a statement.

The foreign ministry was in close contact with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons regarding the incident, the statement said.

Jong-nam was killed by two women, who wiped his face with a chemical that has since been identified as the VX nerve agent at the KLIA2 departure hall. He was about to leave for Macau. – Reuters