TV footage appears to show planned attack on Kim Jong-Nam

2017-02-20 16:24
Kim Jong-Nam talks to airport security officials at the Kuala Lumpur airport shortly after apparently being poisoned. (Fuji television via AP)

Kim Jong-Nam talks to airport security officials at the Kuala Lumpur airport shortly after apparently being poisoned. (Fuji television via AP)

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Kuala Lumpur - Security camera footage obtained by Japanese television appears to show a careful and deliberate attack last week on Kim Jong-Nam, the exiled half brother of North Korea's ruler, while Malaysia said on Monday it had recalled its ambassador to North Korea amid rising tensions between the nations.

The footage, obtained by Fuji TV and often grainy and blurred, seems to show two women approaching Kim Jong-Nam from different directions as he stands at a ticketing kiosk at the budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur airport. One - apparently a Vietnamese woman now under arrest - comes up behind him and appears to hold something over his mouth for a few seconds.

Then the women turn and calmly walk off in different directions. More footage shows Kim, a long-estranged scion of the family that has ruled North Korea for three generations, walking up to airport workers and security officials, gesturing at his eyes and seemingly asking for help. He then walks alongside as they lead him to the airport clinic.

Felt dizzy

Fuji TV has not revealed how it acquired the video footage, which was taken by a series of security cameras as Kim arrived for a flight to Macau, where he had a home.

Kim, in his mid-40s, died shortly after the attack, en route to a hospital after suffering a seizure, Malaysian officials say.

Malaysia's deputy national police chief, Noor Rashid Ibrahim, said on Sunday that Kim had told airport customer service workers that "two unidentified women had swabbed or had wiped his face with a liquid and that he felt dizzy."

Since Kim's death last week, authorities have been trying to piece together details of what appeared to be an assassination. Malaysian police have so far arrested four people carrying identity documents from North Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Investigators are looking for four North Korean men who flew out of Malaysia the same day as the attack, said Malaysian police.

Noor Rashid said the men arrived in Malaysia on different days beginning on January 31 and flew out of the country last Monday.

"I am not going disclose where they are," he told a room packed with journalists, adding that Interpol was helping with the investigation.

The four men, who range in age from their early 30s to late 50s, were travelling on regular - not diplomatic - passports, he said.

Police also want to question three other people. Noor Rashid said one was North Korean, but that police had not yet identified the other two. It was not clear if they were suspects or simply wanted for questioning.

The autopsy results on Kim Jong Nam could be released as early as Wednesday, said Health Minister S Subramaniam.

Objected to autopsy

Investigators also want to speak to Kim Jong Nam's next of kin to formally identify the body. He is believed to have two sons and a daughter with two women living in Beijing and Macau.

"We haven't met the next of kin," Noor Rashid said. "We are trying very hard to get the next of kin to come and to assist us in the investigation."

Noor Rashid said charges against the four suspects in custody would be determined by prosecutors.

The case has raised tensions between Malaysia and North Korea. Pyongyang demanded custody of Kim's body and strongly objected to an autopsy. The Malaysians went ahead with the procedure anyway, saying they were simply following procedure.

Kang Chol, North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia, said that Malaysia may be "trying to conceal something" and that the autopsy was carried out "unilaterally and excluding our attendance."

On Monday, the Malaysian foreign ministry said it had recalled its ambassador to Pyongyang "for consultations" and had summoned Kang to a meeting, "to seek an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia."

The statement called Kang's comments "baseless" and said it "takes very seriously any unfounded attempt to tarnish its reputation."

South Korea has been quick to blame North Korea for the death of Kim Jong-Nam, who as the eldest son of the late dictator Kim Jong Il was once widely seen as the ruler-in-waiting of the isolated nation. However, he fell out of favour more than a decade ago and has spent most of his time since then living in China or Southeast Asia.


Read more on:    kim jong nam  |  malaysia  |  north korea

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