KUALA LUMPUR: Investigators probing into the high-profile assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, believe that they have made their case.
Less than a week after the Feb 13, murder at klia2, police who had been working round the clock to solve the mystery, yesterday tied up the loose ends to conclude their investigations.
It is understood that a press conference today by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid, which the media was alerted to last night, will shed light on the case, which has grabbed global attention.
It is understood that those attending today’s session will not be able to learn yet, what was used to kill Jong-nam, as at press time, the toxicologist report has yet to be finalised. Whatever the potent poison was, it took about half an hour to kill him.
The New Straits Times Press group of newspapers yesterday front-paged an exclusive picture of Jong-nam slumped on an armchair at the airport’s clinic, moments before he was taken into an ambulance, where he died.
Highly-placed sources told the New Sunday Times that the investigators had solid evidence to draw links between the suspects in custody and the publicly executed murder of the 46-year-old.
The police have to date, picked up five individuals but have since crossed out the involvement of two.
They believe that there are three more complicit in the crime.
“Two of them may have flown the coop,” the source said, suggesting that they would have fled the country while all attention was on the two frontline female operatives, caught on camera poisoning Jong-nam.
It has not been established if the other male suspect unaccounted for is still in hiding here or had left the country.
Police believe that the three are also North Koreans.
The duo, identified as Indonesian, Siti Aisyah, 25 and a woman who holds a Vietnamese passport identified as Doan Thi Huong, 29, is in police custody.
On Friday, police picked up a North Korean identified as Ri Jong Chol, 47. Police said the man was believed to be an operative of the North Korean Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB). He was picked up from the Dynasty Garden Condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama about 9.50pm.
Unverified information suggested that the condominium had been used as a “safehouse” for North Korean agents here since 2011.
Ri is believed to be one of the four identified “handlers” of the two women.
The four men were captured on klia2 closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera observing the assassination from the nearby Bibik Heritage restaurant.
Police also recovered from Ri a Malaysian Immigration-issued i-Kad, used to identify foreign workers.
A source from the Immigration Department said they were trying to ascertain the authenticity of the document as the i-Kad has low security features and could be easily forged.
Police had in the wee hours of Friday brought the two women to the crime scene to reenact the crime.
It is understood that the first arrest made on Doan two days after the murder, was enough for the police to make a major breakthrough in their investigation.
Doan is believed to have spilled the beans on the elaborate plot to assassinate Kim.
Police picked up Siti Aisyah on Thursday.
Those isolated as suspects were the unfortunate taxi driver, who was entangled in the web of intrigue after he drove up in line to pick up Doan at the airport’s taxi stand at 9.30am, soon after the murder.
The other suspect released was Aisyah’s Malaysian boyfriend.
Today’s press conference will likely put an end to speculation on how Jong-nam was poisoned.
Reports have suggested that it could have been injected into him. Another suggested that one of the women sprayed a lethal concoction onto Jong-nam when they accosted him in the middle of the airport’s departure hall.
CCTV clippings also drew many to conclude that the Vietnamese women had a glove on her left hand, suggesting that it was laced with poison that killed Kim when she placed her hand over his face.
It remains unclear why Jong-nam was killed, although some international press have speculated that he was planning to set up a government in exile.
Police, however, have strong grounds to believe that North Korean secret agents were behind the murder. Additional reporting by Hariz Mohd