Police: North Korean diplomat seen sending off 4 murder suspects

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PETALING JAYA: Police sources say the North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over Kim Jong Nam’s murder was caught on video sending off four suspects back to Pyongyang.

Speaking to online portal Channel NewsAsia, a senior police source said closed-circuit television footage showed the diplomat sending off the suspects at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“He was there at KLIA together with a staff from Air Koryo on Feb 13,” the source was quoted as saying.

The police source was referring to the North Korean embassy’s second secretary Hyon Kwang Song, 44, and North Korean airline Koryo Air employee Kim Uk Il, 37. Both men are wanted for questioning in connection with Jong Nam’s death.

Kwang Song was asked to come in for questioning yesterday, but according to The Star, officials had said that Hyon was protected by diplomatic immunity.

Unless North Korea agrees to lift the immunity, The Star added, no action could be taken by the police.

According to Channel NewsAsia, the four suspects who left Malaysia after Jong Nam’s death have been identified as Ri Ji Hyon, 33; Hong Song Hac, 34; O Jong Gil, 55 and Ri Jae Nam, 57.

The four were accompanied by two women, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aishah, on the day of Jong Nam’s death.

The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13, awaiting a morning flight to Macau, when he was allegedly attacked by Doan and Siti Aishah. The two women reportedly sprayed his face with an unidentified toxic liquid and held a cloth over his face before leaving the scene.

Jong Nam asked for medical assistance at a klia2 service counter but died on the way to hospital.

Doan, Siti Aishah and a Malaysian man have been detained, but the four North Korean men fled Malaysia the same day. Channel NewsAsia said the men had escaped through Jakarta, Dubai and Vladivostok before arriving in Pyongyang on Feb 17.

Police say they have communicated with the North Korean embassy, asking for the republic’s assistance to help trace the four suspects in Pyongyang and to hand them over. – FMT

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