Malaysian police chief publicly confirms murdered man was Kim Jong Nam

Monday, March 13, 2017

On Friday, Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar spoke to reporters and confirmed the man murdered in Kuala Lumpur International Airport was indeed Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "We have fulfilled the requirement of the laws on his identification," he said.

Malaysian authorities had been very cautious about calling the murdered man Kim Jong Nam in public, referring to him instead as "Kim Chol," the name on one of his passports. Although he did not say whether Malaysian authorities' request for a Kim family DNA sample had been granted or whether any such sample had been used in the identification, Khalid dismissed a report in the New Straits Times on Saturday claiming Kim had been identified by the pattern of moles on his face, saying "No. Not True. That is not enough for us."

Two women, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, were charged with Kim's murder. Both women protest their innocence, claiming they thought they had been hired to spray passengers with harmless baby oil, but Malaysian police say Kim died of VX nerve agent, which the United Nations classifies as a weapon of mass destruction. North Korean authorities claim Kim died of a heart attack. Aisyah has been the subject of protests outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta. Members of workers' and religious groups waved banners saying "Siti Aisyah is only a victim of political conspiracy interests" and "Save Siti Aisyah."

The murder and its investigation have driven up tensions between North Korea and Malaysia. Both countries temporarily barred each other's citizens from leaving, though North Korea recently allowed two Malaysian employees of the United Nations World Food Programme to leave North Korea. Nine Malaysians were believed to still be on North Korean soil, embassy workers and their families.