Kim Jong-nam killing: N. Korean suspect to be freed

Kim Jong-nam killing: N. Korean suspect to be freed
PHOTO: AFP

The North Korean man arrested in connection with the murder of Kim Jong-nam will be released and deported today as there is a lack of evidence to charge him.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said the suspect, 47-year-old Ri Jong-chol, would be released after his second remand expires.

"He will not be charged. There is insufficient evidence against him. He will be deported as he has no valid documents," he said yesterday.

North Korean embassy counsellor Kim Yu-song spent about 40 minutes at the Sepang police headquarters yesterday, believed to be in connection with Jong-chol's release.

He arrived alone at around 5.35pm and left after that.

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It is speculated that Yu-song came to submit some paperwork that may be required for Jong-chol's release.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said police had been informed of the A-G's decision not to prosecute Jong-chol.

"Basically they (A-G's Chamber) informed us that they are not going to prosecute.

"Upon his release, he will be held under the Immigration Act and then deported," he said.

He added that the police would hand him over to the Immigration Department.

Half-brother of N Korean leader assassinated in Malaysia

Asked whether there was a lack of evidence against Jong-chol, who is believed to have driven one of four North Koreans who have fled Malaysia after the murder, Noor Rashid refused to comment.

It is learnt that police have hit a stumbling block in gathering enough evidence to link Jong-chol to one of the four.

"The police were hoping to prosecute but after reviewing the investigation papers, the A-G's Chamber decided against it. Certain evidence was said to be circumstantial and the suspect had no clear direct link to the murder plot," a source said.

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The four North Koreans who fled the country were Rhi Ji-hyon, 33, Hong Song-hac, 34, O Jong-gil, 55, and Ri Jae-nam, 57.

The four entered the country separately days before the murder and left for Jakarta from KLIA2 just after the attack on Feb 13.

One of the four is rumoured to be the mastermind behind the attack.

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Jong-chol was detained on Feb 17 after police raided a condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama on Feb 17.

He graduated in science and medicine from a university in North Korea in 2000 and was also involved in research at a centre in Kolkata, India, until 2011.

Three other North Koreans are also being sought to assist in the investigation. They are North Korean embassy second secretary Hyon Kwang-song, 44, Air Koryo employee Kim Uk-il, 37, and Ri Ji-u, 30, who is also known as James.

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