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second woman held over death of Kim Jong-nam – The Guardian 

Malaysian police have detained a second woman in connection with the apparent assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

The Malaysian inspector general said in a statement that the suspect had been identified as Siti Aishah, an Indonesian national. Her birthday was given as 11 February 1992, and place of birth as Serang, Indonesia. It is not clear if her passport was genuine.

The statement said she had been positively identified from CCTV footage at Kuala Lumpur international airport and was alone when she was apprehended in the early hours of Thursday.

Channel News Asia quoted a police source as saying that a Malaysian man had also been arrested on Thursday in connection with Kim’s death.

The confirmed arrest of a second suspect follows the detention on Wednesday of 28-year-old woman, whose Vietnamese passport bore the name Doan Thi Huong.

She too had been positively identified from CCTV footage and was alone at the time of her arrest, the inspector general said. Still photos from the video, confirmed as authentic by police, showed a woman in a skirt and long-sleeved white T-shirt with “LOL” emblazoned across the front.

Malaysian police have reportedly been granted permission to remand both women in custody for seven days.

Police are also seeking “a few” other suspects in connection with the killing of Kim Jong-nam, apparently carried out with a fast-acting poison, as he prepared to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to his home in Macau on Monday morning.

“We are looking for more suspects,” Selangor state police chief Abdul Samah Mat said, but declined to say how many were being sought, or their nationalities.

Intelligence officials in South Korea have said they suspect Kim’s killing was carried out by people working on behalf of the North Korean regime.

There is mounting speculation that his death was ordered by Kim Jong-un, possibly as retribution for criticisms his elder brother made against his leadership in interviews with the Japanese journalist, Yoji Gomi, in 2012.

As Malaysian authorities searched for other suspects in a case that has focused attention on the apparent lengths to which North Korea will go to ensure the regime’s stability.

Malaysian media cited unnamed sources as saying that North Korean officials had spent hours trying to persuade Malaysia not to conduct an autopsy and for Kim’s body be handed over to Pyongyang.

Malaysia refused the request, since North Korea did not submit a formal protest, according to Abdul Samah Mat, a senior Malaysian police official. No decision has yet been taken on whether the body will eventually be handed over to the North.

While Pyongyang has made no official comment on Kim’s death, it has not attempted to conceal its interest in his fate. On Wednesday, it sent a black Jaguar car with diplomatic number plates and flags to the mortuary at Kuala Lumpur hospital, where an autopsy was conducted on Wednesday evening.

It was not immediately clear if or when the autopsy results would be made public.

Kim, who was 45, fell ill after apparently being attacked from behind with a chemical spray, and died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

At the time of his death he was carrying a North Korean passport that gave his name as Kim Chol, born in Pyongyang on 10 June 1970.

His death has parked speculation about the possible involvement of Kim Jong-un, whose five-year rule of North Korea has been marked by purges and executions of people perceived as a threat to his leadership.

The highest-profile victim of Kim’s “reign of terror” was his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who was executed on treason charges in late 2013. Jang, once considered his nephew’s most trusted adviser, was also believed to have been close to Kim Jong-nam, whom he had helped raise.

Kim Jong-nam attempted to lead an unremarkable life with his family in Macau, according to exchanges with Gomi.

“Because I was educated in the west, I was able to enjoy freedom from early age and I still love being free,” he told Gomi, whose book on Kim was published in 2012. “The reason I visit Macau so often is because it’s the most free and liberal place near China, where my family lives.”

Kim Byung-kee, a South Korean MP, said intelligence services had told him Kim Jong-un professed to “hate” his half brother, whom he feared could one day play a role in the overthrow of his regime.

The spy agency’s has also made unverified claims that North Korea had spent five years attempting to kill Kim Jong-nam.

They cited a “genuine” attempt in 2012 after he had described his brother as ”just a nominal figure”, and lambasted the county’s hereditary transfer of power as a “joke to the outside world”.

“The Kim Jong-un regime will not last long,” he told Gomi. “Without reforms, North Korea will collapse, and when such changes take place, the regime will collapse.”

A terrified Kim is reported to have written to Kim Kong-un after the 2012 assassination attempt in which he pleaded with his brother to assure his safety and that of his family.

The letter said: “I hope you cancel the order for the punishment of me and my family. We have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, and we know that the only way to escape is committing suicide.”

Kim Jong-nam may have succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, had he not embarrassed the regime in May 2001 with an attempt to enter Japan on a faked Dominican Republic passport.

Kim, accompanied by his wife, another woman believed to be a nanny, and his four-year-old son, were attempting to visit Tokyo Disneyland. They were sent back to North Korea via Beijing, but the incident appears to have ended any hopes Kim had of succeeding his father.

Before his death, he reportedly led a comfortable life touring the casinos of Macau, indulging his love of French and Portuguese wine, and staying at luxury hotels across Asia.

He moved around Macau without bodyguards, but the fear of assassination was never far from his thoughts, according to a resident of the former Portuguese colony who, along with other locals, referred to Kim as “John”.

The South China Morning Post quoted an unnamed source who had known Kim for 10 years as saying: “He knew his life was at risk … and he was aware his brother was after him.”

“He was very cheerful and mingled easily,” the friend, who had requested anonymity, told the newspaper. “He was very humane, he used to help many people here, particularly fellow citizens from South Korea … It is a shame he was not given the chance to live longer.”()

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/16/north-korea-killing-second-woman-held-over-death-of-kim-jong-nam

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