Thursday 17 January 2019

Suspects 'were trained' to kill Kim's half-brother

Siti Aisyah escorted by police as she left court yesterday in Malaysia. Photo: AP
Siti Aisyah escorted by police as she left court yesterday in Malaysia. Photo: AP

Rozanna Latiff

Two women accused of murdering the estranged half-brother of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un must have been trained to carry out "an assassination" using the deadly VX nerve agent, Malaysian prosecutors said yesterday when wrapping up their case.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, were charged with having common intent with four North Korean fugitives to kill Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017.

Mr Kim's face was smeared with VX, a banned nerve agent developed as a chemical weapon.

"You have to be trained for it… there can be no room for error," prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said, likening the "assassination" to something "in a James Bond movie".

The women, both in their 20s, are the only suspects in custody and face the death penalty if convicted. They pleaded not guilty, saying they believed they were in a prank reality show and did not know they were handling anything lethal.

Wan Shaharuddin said assassins would have to know they have to wash the VX off themselves within 15 minutes to avoid being contaminated.

Airport security footage showed both women heading to a toilet shortly after the assault on Mr Kim.

"If it was a prank, why did you smear not only on his face or on his eyelids, but also in the eye itself?" Wan Shaharuddin said.

Trial judge Azmi Ariffin set August 16 to rule on whether to acquit the women or call for them to enter their defence.

Irish Independent

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