Four more suspects in Kim murder named

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A file photo shows Royal Malaysian Police personnel standing guard at the main entrance of the Malaysian Chemistry Department. AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Four suspects charged with two women accused of killing the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader were identified for the first time in court yesterday.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong were charged in March along with four unnamed others for the murder of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur international airport on February 13.

The four unnamed suspects were only identified as Mr Chang, Mr Y, James, and Hanamori also known as “Grandpa” or “Uncle”, investigating police officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz told the court, citing criminal investigation findings.

Wan Azirul identified Mr Y as a man seen in a video recording played in court. The man, wearing a black cap and carrying a black backpack, was seen in the video walking into the airport with a woman who resembled Ms Huong.

Ms Huong and Ms Aisyah are accused of murdering Kim by smearing his face with liquid VX, a chemical poison banned by the United Nations.

“Based on my investigation, Mr Y was the person who applied a liquid on the second accused,” Mr Wan Azirul said, referring to Ms Huong.

Meanwhile, Mr Chang was seen meeting with Ms Aisyah at a restaurant at the airport’s third-level departure hall in a separate video screened in court, Mr Wan Azirul said.

Hanamori had given instructions to Mr Y, while James had “recruited” Ms Aisyah, Mr Wan Azirul said, without elaborating.

He did not say whether the four suspects were North Koreans or whether they were the same four people who Malaysian police said left Kuala Lumpur for Pyongyang on the day of the killing.

Malaysia has issued an Interpol red notice, the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant, on the four who left, identified as North Koreans Ri Ji-hyon, Hong Song-hac, O Jong-gil, and Ri Jae-nam.

The trial will resume after a planned visit to the airport on Oct. 24.

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