'Siti told me she was in a North Korean movie'

A man walks past a house (red color) where Indonesian woman Siti Aishah, a suspect in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, used to live in Tambora district in Jakarta, Indonesia.
PHOTO: Reuters

PETALING JAYA - A divorcee who has been arrested as one of the suspects in the high-profile murder of North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam was able to speak Korean and had always wanted to go to North Korea.

From the slums of Jakarta, the 25-year-old Siti Aisyah moved to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur and has now become embroiled in a high-profile murder that gripped the world's attention.

She had told her friends and family in Indonesia that she had been invited to act in a movie.

"She said the shooting would take place in North Korea," a friend of Siti Aisyah told Detik.com, an Indonesian portal.

However, she did not give family and friends the details.

"I don't know the details, she just said it was for a DPR office (North Korea). We ordinary people just listened to what she was saying," said the friend, identified only as AZ.

​Read also: Killer women recruited by a man three months ago​

Siti Aisyah is one of the two women who allegedly attacked Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with a deadly chemical.

Siti Aisyah worked as a guest relations officer (GRO) at a spa in Ampang although she told folks in Indonesia that she had a job "selling tickets".

Her nightlife job was hidden from her family in Indonesia, where she has a seven-year-old son named Rio. Rio lives with her former in-laws.

But one thing that Siti Aisyah's mother Benah did know was that her daughter could speak English and Korean.

"I never knew she worked in Malaysia," said Benah, 50, who thought her daughter was selling clothes at a market in Batam after divorcing her husband, Gunawan Hasyin alias Ajun.

​Read also: Siti Aishah a 'victim' in Kim Jong-nam case: Indonesian VP

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.

She said that the last time Siti Aisyah went back to her village in Serang, near Jakarta, was on Jan 21. Aisyah had been sending money to Benah.

"Usually it's 500,000 rupiah (RM170). But not every month," Benah told the news portal.

Siti Aisyah's mother-in-law Lian Kiong or Akiong, 56, told Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials yesterday that she and her family had no relationship with her since she divorced her husband Gunawan Hasyim.

A sealed handwritten letter of the divorce note dated Feb 1, 2012 was presented to the Foreign Ministry yesterday.

Signed by Siti Aisyah and Gunawan, with her then employer Lian Kiong as witness, the letter said the couple had opted for a divorce as they no longer "had the compatibility and harmony of husband and wife".

​Read also: Assassins wipe, wash and flee the scene​

Lian Kiong said that following the divorce, Siti Aisyah hardly visited her in-laws in Tambora in West Jakarta, and only came around once a year to meet Rio.

"After the divorce, she never came around. The last time she came was on Jan 28.

"She came and stayed for the night. She spent the night with my grandson and left the next day," Lian Kiong was quoted as saying.

She added that Siti Aisyah's son had previously even refused to meet his mother because he knew she would leave eventually.

According to another Indonesian news portal Kumparan, based on identification records held by her village of birth in Angke, west Jakarta, she had two separate entries, complete with different photos.

In the first one, her name is spelt as "Siti Aisyah" with information saying she was born in Serang, Indonesia, on Feb 11, 1992. In the accompanying picture, her hair is tied in a ponytail.

In the second entry, her name was written as "Siti Aisah" and her date of birth is listed as Nov 1, 1989. In this picture, her hair is worn loose.

The ID (identification) numbers as well as her occupation on both entries differed.

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.

​Read also: Kim Jong-nam's murder: So who is Siti Aisyah, really?

As "Siti Aisyah", she listed her occupation as entrepreneur; as "Siti Aisah", she listed her occupation as housewife.

Kumparan quoted Angke village head Dwi Ariyono as saying he did not know why Siti Aisyah had two separate IDs.

Siti Aisyah was arrested at a hotel in Ampang on Thursday after she was identified on CCTV footage from KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2).

Among the items seized by police in the room included three US$100 notes.

She was the second suspect detained for allegedly murdering Jong-nam. The first suspect was a woman who held a Vietnamese passport, identifying her as Doan Thi Huong, 28.

Siti Aisyah's boyfriend, Muham­mad Farid Jalaluddin, 26, was also arrested on Wednesday.

Indonesian deputy ambassador to Malaysia Andreano Erwin said that the embassy in Kuala Lumpur had been unable to meet Siti Aisyah as of yesterday afternoon.

"We are still waiting for permission from the Malaysian authorities to see her," he said.

​Read also: N. Korea's killer female agents

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES