KUALA LUMPUR (Agencies) – Four men suspected of killing the North Korean leader’s half-brother at a Malaysian airport changed their clothes and appearance to escape detection, a police witness said yesterday.
The four, who are still at large, are charged together with two women – Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam – with killing Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport’s budget terminal on February 13.
Prosecutors in the court say Ms Aisyah and Ms Huong conspired with the men to murder Kim by smearing his face with liquid VX.
Defence lawyers have argued the women thought they were involved in a prank for a TV show.
The men had been formerly identified only as Mr Chang, Mr Y, James, and Hanamori, which a police witness has said were assumed names.
The men changed clothes after the attack, before they were seen leaving the airport, police investigator Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz told Shah Alam High Court.
“They were trying to confuse [observers],” Mr Wan Azirul said, describing CCTV recordings made on the day of the killing.
“Hanamori played the role as the mastermind of this incident,” he said.
More than 40 CCTV video clips of the men’s movements at the airport were screened in the darkened courtroom. They showed Mr Chang and Mr Y heading to different bathrooms in the airport before emerging in different clothes, shortly after the attack on Kim.
Mr Chang, who had earlier been seen wearing a goatee, also came out of the bathroom clean-shaven.
“All of the suspects at large, even though they changed clothes, did not change their shoes,” added Mr Wan Azirul, who said the shoes were among the features enabling identification of the suspects, besides their body types and movements.
Other videos showed Mr Chang and Mr Y meeting separately with a man, identified as Hanamori, at
an airport restaurant before the attack. Hanamori was seen arriving at the restaurant with a fourth man, who Mr Wan Azirul said was “suspected to be James”.
Mr Chang later met alone with Ms Aisyah at the restaurant, while Mr Y was seen walking past the restaurant with Ms Huong.
It is unclear whether the four suspects at large were the same four North Koreans authorities described as having left for Pyongyang on the day of the killing