Indonesia, Vietnam press Malaysia for access over Kim Jong-nam murder

Representatives from Indonesia and Vietnam sat down with their Malaysian counterparts late on Monday to request access to their citizens who have been detained by Malaysian police for their alleged involvement in the murder of a man believed to be the halfbrother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un.

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The demands come off the back of unsuccessful efforts to gain access from Malaysian authorities, who are insisting on withholding information until the investigation concludes.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huon were detained last week based on CCTV footage of the incident. Consular officers from the Indonesian mission in Malaysia have been unable to reach Siti since her arrest on Thursday.

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Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi initiated a trilateral meeting with her counterparts Panh Binh Minh of Vietnam and Malaysia's Anifah Aman on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in the Philippine island resort of Boracay.

Retno urged Aman to abide by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and grant Indonesia swift consular access to Siti, who has since been moved to a high-security facility in Cyberjaya to avoid further media exposure.

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Aman stressed that the investigation would continue, because investigators had not finished gleaning information from the two suspects.

Malaysian law allows authorities to refuse access to detainees until the investigation is concluded.

"Even though embassy staff and an appointed legal counsel have met with investigators to confirm that [the detainee] is in good health, consular access is still immediately required," Retno said in a statement obtained by the The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Minh conveyed a similar request for consular access, insisting it was the right of every person in a foreign country.

Aman responded by saying he would coordinate with the Malaysian police, so that access could be granted as soon as possible, but stressed that the investigation had to go on.

Kim Chol, who Malaysia claims was Kim Jong-nam using an alias, was murdered on Feb. 13 by two female assailants at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The two female assailants are believed to be Siti and Doan.

Read also: Assassins wipe, wash and flee the scene

Another two men have been detained, and Malaysian authorities are in pursuit of four North Korean nationals also believed to be involved.

Half-brother of N Korean leader assassinated in Malaysia

  • Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam, was surrounded by a heavy police presence as they were charged in a Kuala Lumpur court over the killing.
  • Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, was surrounded by a heavy police presence as they were charged in a Kuala Lumpur court over the killing.
  • Huong, also dressed casually, then heard the charge in Vietnamese.
  • Siti, wearing a red T-shirt, was brought in first to hear the murder charge read out before being taken away.
  • The handcuffed women were both told they faced the death penalty if found guilty.
  • Neither woman was asked to enter a plea and their trial is not expected to begin for several months.
  • Four suspects in the Kim Jong Nam murder: Malaysian Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin (top L), Doan Thi Huong (top R) of Vietnam, North Korean Ri Jong Chol (bottom L) and Siti Aisyah of Indonesia (bottom R).
  • : A still image from a footage broadcast by Chinese state media which they say is believed to show the second woman (wearing yellow top) suspected of involvement in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam.
  • Mystery woman: A CCTV screen grab showing a woman outside what looked like the airport, was circulated briefly after news broke last night that the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been killed in Malaysia. The picture fits the description of one of the two women believed to be North Korean spies, who had poisoned Kim Jong-nam during a brazen attack at KLIA2.
  • CCTV cameras at KLIA2 have captured a clearer image of a woman believed to be one of the assassins who killed Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
  • The image zooms in on the alleged killer's features, depicting her to be middle-aged and of Asian descent.
  • In the grainy image, she can be seen wearing a top with the word "LOL" in large letters and a blue short skirt, with her right hand over a small sling handbag.
  • North Korea embassy officials leave the morgue at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital where Kim Jong Nam's body is held for autopsy in Malaysia.
  • Jong-nam, 45, died after he was attacked at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Monday.
  • He is believed to have been attacked by two female agents who splashed his face with a chemical at the airport's departure hall at about 9am on Monday.
  • A statement confirming the death from the Royal Malaysia Police force.
  • Three cars belonging to the North Korean embassy were seen in the compound of the mortuary at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL). At least two of the cars were parked inside the compound while the third was seen parked outside with a police patrol car parked behind it. The cars had diplomatic number plates, one of which was 28-35-DC.
  • Occupants of the cars were at the mortuary where a post-mortem on the body of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was being carried out.
  • North Korean female agents operating in Malaysia have reportedly assassinated the half-brother of the North's leader, Kim Jong-Un - a one-time heir apparent who became a critic of the Stalinist regime.
  • South Korean media said Tuesday that Kim Jong-Nam was killed with poisoned needles at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Officials in Seoul and the Malaysian capital could not confirm his death.
  • Malaysian police said in a statement late Tuesday that a North Korean man, identified as Kim Chol, sought medical assistance at the airport and died on the way to hospital.
  • South Korean media said Jong-Nam had travelled using a fake passport under the name of Kim Chol.
  • If confirmed, it would be the highest-profile death under the Jong-Un regime since the execution of the leader's uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, in December 2013.
  • Jong-Un has been trying to strengthen his grip on power in the face of growing international pressure over his country's nuclear and missile programmes. He has reportedly staged a series of executions. The latest launch of a new intermediate-range missile on Sunday brought UN Security Council condemnation and vows of a strong response from US President Donald Trump.
  • South Korea's national news agency Yonhap quoted a source as saying agents of the North's spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, carried out the assassination on Monday by taking advantage of a security loophole between Jong-Nam's bodyguards and Malaysian police at the airport.
  • Malaysian private security guards stand guard outside the Forensics department at Putrajaya Hospital in Putrajaya on February 14, 2017, where the body of a North Korean man suspected to be Kim Jong-Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is believed to be kept.
  • The 45-year-old was killed by two unidentified females wielding poisoned needles at the airport, according to South Korean broadcaster TV Chosun.
  • It said the women hailed a cab and fled immediately afterwards. Jong-Nam, the eldest son of former leader Kim Jong-Il, was once seen as heir apparent but fell out of favour following an embarrassing botched attempt in 2001 to enter Japan on a forged passport and visit Disneyland. He has since lived in virtual exile, mainly in the Chinese territory of Macau.
  • A pedestrian walks in front of a clinic where a North Korean man suspected to be Kim Jong-Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is believed had been taken at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur on February 14, 2017.
  • His half-brother took over as leader when their father died in December 2011. Jong-Nam, known as an advocate of reform in the North, once told a Japanese newspaper that he opposed his country's dynastic system of power.
  • He was reportedly close to his uncle Song-Thaek, once the North's unofficial number two and political mentor of the current leader. Cheong Seong-Jang, senior researcher at Seoul's Sejong Institute think-tank, said Jong-Nam had been living in near-exile so it was unlikely that Jong-Un saw him as a potential competitor for power.
  • Policemen stand outside the morgue at Putrajaya hospital in Malaysia February 15, 2017.
  • In 2014, Jong-Nam was reported to be in Indonesia - sighted at an Italian restaurant in Jakarta - and was said to be shuttling back and forth between Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and France.
  • N Korean officials scuffle with media outside the KL hospital.
  • N Korean officials speaking to Malaysian authorities.
  • The Korean restaurant along Tanjong Pagar road where Kim Jong Nam was said to have dined in when he was spotted in Singapore in 2014.

A government source, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the situation, suggested that Malaysian authorities would seek an extension of Siti's detention period as they required more time to substantiate the criminal charges against her.

Retno was in the Philippines for the AMM retreat, kicking off Manila's chairmanship of the bloc under the theme "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World."

The Philippine government has proposed six priority areas for this year: a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN; regional peace and stability; maritime security and co-operation; inclusive growth; economic resiliency; and a model for regionalism.

Retno stressed the need for ASEAN to provide concrete benefits to people in its member states.

"Only by providing concrete benefits can ASEAN remain relevant for communities," she said.

She also focused on an agreement reached by ASEAN leaders at the 2016 ASEAN Summit to improve maritime security in the region.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's investigation of the murder case has raised just as many questions in Malaysia as it has in Indonesia, with officials scrambling to reject any possible Indonesian connection.

On Tuesday, Jakarta Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono denied a foreign media report suggesting police were investigating allegations that a North Korean restaurant in North Jakarta serves as an espionage base.

On Monday, the Law and Human Rights Ministry's Immigration Directorate General revealed the identities of the four wanted North Koreans who fled to Jakarta on the day of the murder.

The directorate general's spokesman Agung Sampurno said the four were identified as Ri Jaenam, Ri Ji-hyon, Hong Song-hak and O Jong-gil.

He said three of them had continued their journey to Dubai on Feb. 13, while O Jong-gil had gone to Bangkok on Feb. 19.

It is believed they left Jakarta for Pyongyang via Dubai and Vladivostok.

Malaysian authorities said on Tuesday they had still to establish what was used to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the body had not been formally identified as no next of kin have come forward.

Kim Jong-nam was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13 with what police believe was a fast-acting poison. Malaysia's deputy prime minister has previously named the victim as Kim Jong-nam, though authorities have been unable to conduct DNA tests.

"The cause of death and identity are still pending," Noor Hisham Abdullah, director general of health at Malaysia's health ministry, told reporters.

The health ministry official said no DNA samples had been received from the next of kin.

South Korean and United States officials have said they believe North Korean agents assassinated Kim Jong-nam, who had been living in the Chinese territory of Macau under Beijing's protection.

Malaysia has urged Kim Jongnam's next-of-kin to claim the body and help with the inquiry, which has sparked a diplomatic row with North Korea, whose officials want the body handed over directly.

Malaysia recalled its envoy from Pyongyang after North Korea's ambassador in Kuala Lumpur cast doubt on the impartiality of Malaysia's investigation and said the victim was not Kim Jong-nam.

North Korean ambassador Kang Chol said on Monday that his country "cannot trust" Malaysia's handling of the probe into the killing.

Responding on Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak denounced the ambassador's comments and reiterated that the investigation would be fair.

"The statement by the ambassador was totally uncalled for. It was diplomatically rude. But Malaysia will stand firm," Najib told reporters.

Authorities have still to release an autopsy report.

But, the health ministry official said a post mortem examination carried out two days after the death found no evidence of a heart attack or of any puncture wounds on the body.

Malaysian police have arrested a North Korean suspect, and say that four other North Koreans fled the country later on the day of the attack.

Two women from Vietnam and Indonesia have also been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the assault on Kim Jong-nam. There is speculation that they administered a poison by wiping it or spraying it on his face.

Airport camera footage released on Monday by Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV shows the moment the women appeared to assault Kim Jong-nam, who is later seen asking airport officials for medical help.

Photo: Asia One

The Kim dynasty: North Korea's secretive rulers

  • Following a successful missile test and the murder of his half-brother in Kuala Lumpur, North Korean leader Kim Jung Un has been thrust back into the headlines. Here's a look at the hermit state's ruling dynasty.
  • Known as "The Eternal President", Kim Il Sung established the North Korean dictatorship after World War II. With the help of the Soviets who installed him, he purged political enemies and laid the foundations for the regime we see today.
  • Kim Il Sung had three children; Kim Man Il, Kim Kyung Hee and his successor Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il ran the country after his father's death in 1994.
  • State media announced the death of "The Dear Leader" on December 19, 2011. He is thought to have had at least four female partners.
  • Kim Jong Il had an affair with actress Song Hye-rim, before marrying his first wife Kim Yong Suk (not pictured). The pair had a son, Kim Jong-nam.
  • Kim Jong-nam was raised in secrecy and tipped to take the North Korean crown after his father's death, but fell out of favor after being caught trying to travel to Disneyland. He was allegedly murdered in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 13, 2017.
  • Another one of Kim Jong Il's lovers. Ko Yong Hui was working as a dancer before becoming his partner and bore him two sons and a daughter. One of the sons is Kim Jong-Un, the country's current leader. She died in 2004.
  • The supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), lLittle is known for sure about Kim Jong Un. Even his birth date is uncertain but he is believed to be around 33 years old.
  • Before taking power, he had barely been seen in public, and many of the activities of both Kim and his government remain shrouded in secrecy.
  • The oldest son of Kim Jong Il but passed over for the top job by his younger brother Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Chul was initially seen as the successor but a book written by a chef to the family suggested he was viewed as too soft for the job.
  • Mystery also surrounds Kim Yo Chong, the younger sister of Kim Yong Un. Born in 1987, she reportedly attended the International School of Berne in Switzerland.
  • The International Business Times reported that in October 2014 she possibly took over state duties for her brother while he underwent medical treatment.

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Kim Jong-Nam, the 'Little General' who fell from grace