Malaysian Police have named a senior official at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur as one of three people wanted in connection with the killing of Kim Jung-nam last week.
Hyon Kwang Song is Second Secretary at the embassy.
The two other named individuals are Kim Uk Il, a staff member of Air Koryo, North Korea’s state airline, and Ri Ji U.
Four further suspects are believed to have fled Malaysia. Malaysian Police Chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, said: “We strongly believe four of them have left the country and we strongly believe that they have arrived in Pyongyang and we would request the North Korean authorities to assist us in tracing them and hand them over to us for us to complete the investigation.”
Currently in police custody are a North Korean man named Ri Jong Chol, and the two women believed to have carried out the killing, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong.
Kuala Lumpur airport killing
Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had been living in exile in Macau with his family for several years.
He died on 13 February after he was smeared with an unknown substance on the concourse of Kuala Lumpur airport. His assailants are believed to have wiped the substance onto his face with their bare hands.
Mr Khalid said that the women had clearly been “instructed to clean their hands” and that they knew that the substance they were using was toxic. He also said that they had practised the move several times beforehand in shopping centres in the Malaysian capital. This runs counter to claims by Indonesian authorities that Siti Aisyah had thought that she was taking part in a prank for a television show.
Malaysian police investigation
Malaysian authorities are still awaiting the outcome of a post-mortem examination of Kim Jong-nam’s body, and are seeking members of his family to provide a DNA sample. They say that reports that Kim Jung-nam’s son had already travelled to Kuala Lumpur for this purpose were false.
AFP news agency (@AFP) February 21, 2017
The incident has sparked a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea, which had previously enjoyed cordial relations. North Korea has objected to Malaysia carrying out a post-mortem, and to the singling out of North Korean suspects. It has also called into question the identity of the victim.