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Airport security footage shows 4 men also suspected in Kim Jong Nam’s murder

Security footage from the Kuala Lumpur airport showed the four men before and after the attack on Kim Jong Nam on Feb. 13.

world Updated: Oct 26, 2017 14:28 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, Shah Alam
Malayasia,Kim Jong Un,Doan Thi Huong
Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, center, is escorted by police as she arrives for court hearing at Shah Alam court house in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. (AP)

Prosecutors on Thursday showed a Malaysian court airport security videos detailing the movements of four men suspected along with two women on trial of having the intent to kill the estranged brother of North Korea’s leader.

Police chief investigating officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz told the court Thursday that security footage from the Kuala Lumpur airport showed the four men before and after the attack on Kim Jong Nam on Feb. 13.

Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian defendant Siti Aisyah are the only two people in custody in the case and pleaded not guilty to murder when their trial began earlier this month.

Police chief investigating officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz testified earlier that the four male suspects at large were known only by pseudonyms. Prosecutors have said outside court that the four are believe to be North Koreans.

“My investigation showed that Hanamori played the role as the mastermind of this incident,” Wan Azirul testified. Hanamori was also known as Grandpa or Uncle.

The police official said Hanamori was the first to arrive at the airport and met separately with each of the other three men before the attack.

After the two women rubbed Kim’s face with a liquid later identified as VX nerve agent, Hanamori and the suspects known as Mr. Chang and Mr. Y took the same vehicle from the budget terminal to the main airport terminal, Wan Azirul said. Security video footage from the departure hall of the main terminal showed the three men had changed their clothes.

Meanwhile, the suspect known as James was seen heading to the Sama-Sama airport hotel. The police official said security videos showed James entering the hotel room before checking out and he later was seen at the departure hall of the main airport terminal where the other three men were.

Factfile on the assassination of the half-brother of North Korea's leader in February, in which two women are accused of allegedly poisoning him with the lethal nerve agent VX. ( AFP )

Wan Azirul previously testified Mr. Y and Mr. Chang were believed to have put liquid on the women’s hands before they smeared it on Kim’s face. Defense attorneys have said the women believed they were participating in a prank for a TV show but prosecutors have said the women knew they were handling poison.

One video seen in court Thursday showed Huong walking with Mr. Y at the airport near the area where Kim was attacked. Mr. Y was seen holding a water bottle.

Aisyah’s lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, told reporters before the trial that she was recruited in early January by a North Korean man known to her only as James to star in what he said were video prank shows. The lawyer said James and Aisyah went to malls, hotels and airports, where she would rub oil or pepper sauce on strangers. James recorded the encounters on his phone, and paid Aisyah between $100 and $200 for each one.

James later introduced Aisyah to a man he allegedly called Chang, who said he was the producer of Chinese video prank shows. On the day of Kim’s death, Chang had pointed Kim out to Aisyah as the next target and put the substance in her hand, the lawyer has said.

Malaysia has never directly accused North Korea, but South Korea’s spy agency has claimed the attack was part of a plot by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to kill a brother he reportedly never met. Kim Jong Nam was a virtual exile not known to have actively been seeking influence over his younger brother, but had years earlier spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic rule.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 13:46 IST