KUALA LUMPUR: IT took no more than five seconds and one fluid move to kill Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at klia2 on the morning of Feb 13.
Jong-nam was standing idle in a small crowd in front of the airport’s self check-in counter when his assailants struck.
They had been watching him... and when opportunity presented itself, they moved in.
Within that five seconds, one of them stood in front of him to distract him. This was when the other, who had been lurking behind Jong-nam, had him locked in a chokehold, to administer the poison that killed him soon after.
The assassination plan would have been flawless from start to finish, if not for the multitude of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras positioned strategically throughout the hall, which captured images of the act and the subsequent movements of the female assassins after the job was carried out.
Federal Police Special Branch director Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun told the New Straits Times that his men were working on intelligence to narrow down all leads.
“We have reason to believe that this might be the work of foreign agents.
“There are definitely other individuals involved, apart from the two assailants,” he said.
The NST learnt that the assailants moved separately. It is understood that one of the suspects, who was picked up from the same airport yesterday, was the one who had apparently finished the job.
She was wearing a skirt and a top with “LOL” emblazoned across.
CCTV footage of her appeared to show that she had on her left hand a dark-coloured glove as she walked briskly down to the taxi stand for her getaway.
By the time she reached there, it was no longer on her.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Jong-nam, who appeared to be steady soon after the assault, headed to the washroom, but turned back to the information counter to seek help as pain started setting in.
A female employee, understood to be an AirAsia staff, accompanied him to a clinic at the airport.
The NST saw footage of Jong-nam, who was wearingadark blue collared polo T-shirt, light blue jeans and brown shoes, slumped in an armchair.
He eyes were shut and he appeared to be grimacing in pain.
A source with knowledge of the arrest yesterday said the woman, who appeared dishevelled when picked up, was wearing similar clothes, except that it was without the “LOL”.
The source said investigators were not discounting the possibility that this case and the perpetrators involved were not as clear-cut as they seemed.
The NST was also let in on another lead — that there is a likelihood that one ofthe assailants is a man who had disguised himself as a woman.
The man that they may be looking at could be a 40-year-old agent from the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North Korean intelligence agency that manages the state’s clandestine operations.
The NST spoke to those manning the taxi counter where the suspect had bought a coupon for her ride.
“She merely handed over to the counter a card showing where she had wanted to go.
“There was nothing really off about her,” one of them said, adding that he could not reveal more except that they gave eight taxi numbers to investigators.
CCTV footage, particularly one showing her heading towards the escalator leading to a floor down to the taxi stand, suggested her anxiousness to get away from the crime scene.
Police have since traced the cabbie who picked her up.
The NST was made to understand that Jong-nam, who carried a diplomatic passport, had been in the country for more than a week before his planned return trip to Macau.
Meanwhile, a source close to the post-mortem process on Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) told the NST that there were no puncture wounds on his body or face. Some reports had suggested that his assailants could have injected him with a lethal poison.
It is understood that Jong-nam had high blood pressure when he died.
The source added that Jong-nam’s tissue, urine and blood samples had been sent to the Chemistry Department as well as Universiti Sains Malaysia’s laboratory in Penang for analysis. It may take up to a week for the results to come back.
The post-mortem began just after noon and ended just before 7pm.
Meanwhile, a top-ranking source said Pyongyang, through its officials at the North Korean embassy here, had insisted against the post-mortem and wanted Jong-nam’s remains to be released to them.
“But there are clearly criminal elements involved, so one has to be carried out,” the source said.
As at press time, Jong-nam’s body was still at the HKL mortuary.