Two female suspects rehearsed Kim Jong Nam's killing: KL police

Siti Aisyah (left) is said to have attacked first, followed by Doan Thi Huong who allegedly smeared a liquid on Kim Jong Nam's face.
PHOTO: Reuters

The two women who allegedly smeared poison on Mr Kim Jong Nam's face knew they were part of a premeditated attack, Malaysian police have said, disputing reports that the duo were duped into a supposed prank on the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told a press conference yesterday that they rehearsed the attack in two downtown malls, Pavillion and Suria KLCC, before executing it at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13.

"We strongly believe it is a planned thing, and they have been trained to do that. It is not something like just shooting a movie or a play thing," he said of the alleged assassination of Mr Kim, who died on the way to hospital that day.

He said the two women were given the liquid by four North Korean men, suspects who have since fled to Pyongyang.

The Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, 25, is said to have attacked first, followed by the Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong, 29, who allegedly smeared a liquid on Mr Kim's face.

"(They) wiped the face of the deceased and after that they went away and were instructed to clean their hands. They knew it was toxic," he said.

Asked if the four men were "masterminds" of the attack, Tan Sri Khalid said: "They are heavily involved. That is why I requested the North Korean Embassy's assistance to trace them and hand them over to us."

The police chief added that footage of the incident showed one of the women, likely Doan, moving away after the attack, with her hands held up away from her body, "towards the washroom".

"So she knew very well that it was toxic and she had to wash her hands," he said.

In leaked closed-circuit television footage of the incident, two women are seen sneaking up on Mr Kim and reaching up to his face, one resembling Siti Aisyah from the front and another taller woman resembling Doan from the back.

It was also reported that the two women and four men were spotted at KLIA2 the day before the attack.

But Doan's father has said his daughter "could never kill a person".

"My daughter is meek, and I can't believe she would ever kill anybody. She must have been duped by somebody," Mr Doan Van Thanh, 64, told Kyodo News in an interview near his house in Nghia Hung, Vietnam.

Photo: AsiaOne

According to him, his daughter had been working in Hanoi, and he saw her during Chinese New Year at the end of last month.

A neighbour also described the suspect as "very nice, the kind of person who could not even kill a chicken".

The two women, who were picked up last week, had their remand extended yesterday for another week.

Police have also remanded a North Korean man, Ri Jong Chol, 46, who has been in Malaysia on a work visa since 2013. A fourth suspect, Siti Aisyah's Malaysian boyfriend Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, 26, has been released on police bond.

Siti Aisyah's mother, who spoke to The Straits Times last week in Serang, in Indonesia's Banten province, said she believes her daughter is innocent and hopes that the Indonesian government will help the youngest of her three children.

"She is not the type of person who could do what she has been accused of," said Madam Benah, 50.

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.

The saga so far

FEB 13

  • A North Korean man carrying a passport that identifies him as Kim Chol, 46, is attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 at around 9am.
  • CCTV footage leaked later showed that he walked to a clinic in KLIA2 on his own accord, but died en route to hospital.

FEB 14

  • Reports first emerge in South Korea that Mr Kim Jong Nam has been poisoned by two female assassins in Malaysia.

FEB 15

  • Malaysian police arrest Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong, 28, at KLIA2 as she plans to fly out.
  • Police detain a Malaysian believed to be the boyfriend of the second woman suspect.

FEB 16

  • Based on the man's information, police arrest Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah, 25.

FEB 17

  • North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol says Malaysia is "colluding with hostile forces" after police turn down Pyongyang's demands not to conduct an autopsy and to hand over the body.
  • Police arrest a North Korean national, Ri Jong Chol, who has a work visa from a Malaysian healthcare medication company.

FEB 19

  • Police release images of four North Korean men caught on airport CCTV who are suspects.

FEB 20

  • Foreign Minister Anifah Aman says Mr Kang's allegations "are culled from delusions, lies and half-truths".
  • Malaysia recalls its ambassador to North Korea and summons Mr Kang to its Foreign Ministry to explain his harsh words.
  • Mr Kang, in a second outburst, wants his country to be allowed to join probe, citing "grave human rights abuses".
  • Prime Minister Najib Razak says he has "absolute confidence" in Malaysia's police and doctors, who "are very, very professional".
  • CCTV footage of the attack leaks online.

FEB 21

  • Health officials say preliminary observation from post-mortem shows that the victim had no puncture wounds and did not die of a heart attack.
  • Mr Kang says the victim "fainted from a heart attack", and calls it a "natural death".

FEB 22

  • Police want to interview a second secretary at the North Korean Embassy, and an employee of national airline Air Koryo.
  • Police say the two women knew they were poisoning the victim.
  • Mr Kang says if poison was used, why did the two women not die as they used their hands to smear the chemical on the victim's face.
  • Police say there was an attempt to break into the morgue where the body of the victim is held.

This article was first published on Feb 23, 2017.
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