Monday 23 October 2017

Malaysian police say chemical weapon was used in murder of Kim Jong Nam

Murdered: Kim Jong Nam
Murdered: Kim Jong Nam
Members of the media gather in front of the North Korea embassy, following the murder of Kim Jong Nam, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A Kuala Lumpur newspaper carries the latest developments in the Kim Jong Nam death investigation (AP)
Kim Jong Nam, left, was the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (AP)
CCTV footage of Kim Jong Nam with airport security and officials after he was attacked at Kuala Lumpur Airport Photo: Fuji Television via AP
Malaysia's Royal Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar demonstrates to the media during a news conference regarding the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, at the Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Malaysian Police officers gather before a protest organized by Members of the youth wing of the National Front, Malaysia's ruling coalition, in front of the North Korea embassy, following the murder of Kim Jong Nam, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kim Jong Un has assumed supreme command of the Korean People's Army (AP)

The estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was killed with a highly toxic chemical weapon known as VX nerve agent, Malaysian police said on Friday, citing a preliminary report.

Kim Jong Nam died after being assaulted at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Monday while preparing to board a flight to Macau.

South Korean and US officials have said they believe North Korean agents assassinated Kim Jong Nam, who had been living in the Chinese territory of Macau under Beijing's protection.

Police said swabs taken from the eye and the face of a North Korean national by the chemistry department of Malaysia revealed the presence of VX.

VX nerve agent, or S-2 Diisoprophylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate, is chemical weapon classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

"Other exhibits are under analysis," Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in the statement.

Police chief Khalid said earlier that a Vietnamese woman and a Indonesian woman wiped a liquid on Kim Jong Nam's face. They later washed their hands and fled the scene.

Read more: North Korea denies involvement in airport killing of Kim's half-brother

A TV screen at Seoul Railway Station shows pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his older brother Kim Jong Nam (AP)
A TV screen at Seoul Railway Station shows pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his older brother Kim Jong Nam (AP)

Airport camera footage released on Monday by Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV shows the moment the women appeared to assault Kim Jong Nam, who is later seen asking airport officials for medical help. He died on the way to hospital.

VX is tasteless and odourless, and is outlawed under the Chemical Weapons Convention, except for "research, medical or pharmaceutical purposes".

It can be manufactured as a liquid, cream or aerosol. Absorbed in large doses, it is fatal after 15 minutes, according to the US Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, making it the most toxic known nerve agent in the world.

Malaysia on Thursday requested Interpol to put an alert out to apprehend four North Korean suspects in the murder.

CCTV footage of Kim Jong Nam with airport security and officials after he was attacked at Kuala Lumpur Airport Photo: Fuji Television via AP
CCTV footage of Kim Jong Nam with airport security and officials after he was attacked at Kuala Lumpur Airport Photo: Fuji Television via AP

Police are also holding one North Korean man, but are seeking another seven in connection with the murder.

Reuters

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