Date
23 October 2017
North Korean suspects Ri Jae Nam (front  left), Hong Song Hac (back left) and Ri Ji Hyun (right) are seen in this undated handout released by the Royal Malaysia Police. Photo: Reuters
North Korean suspects Ri Jae Nam (front left), Hong Song Hac (back left) and Ri Ji Hyun (right) are seen in this undated handout released by the Royal Malaysia Police. Photo: Reuters

Four North Korean suspects fled Malaysia after airport murder

Four North Korean suspects in the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fled Malaysia on the day he was attacked at KualaLumpur airport and apparently killed by a fast-acting poison, Reuters reports.

A North Korean man, a Vietnamese woman and an Indonesian woman have been arrested already in connection with the death of Kim Jong Nam last Monday, which has triggered a diplomatic spat between Malaysia and Pyongyang.

South Korean and US officials believe Kim Jong Nam was killed by agents from the reclusive North, whose diplomats in Kuala Lumpur have sought to prevent an autopsy on the 46-year-old’s body and demanded it be handed over.

“We believe the North Korean regime is behind this incident, considering five suspects are North Koreans,” Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry that handles inter-Korea affairs, told a briefing on Sunday.

Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed nation.

The young, unpredictable North Korean leader had issued a “standing order” for his elder half-brother’s assassination, and there was a failed attempt in 2012, according to some South Korean lawmakers.

Deputy Inspector-General of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim told a news conference that Malaysia was coordinating with Interpol to track down the four North Koreans, but would not reveal where they flew to on the day of the murder.

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