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View more articles by Hamish Macdonald
Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
Malaysian authorities have confirmed that the North Korean citizen killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on February 13 was Kim Jong Nam, the Inspector-General of Police told a press conference on Friday.
Malaysia had previously been referring to the victim as Kim Chol – the name used on Kim Jong Nam’s North Korean passport – and had refused to make an alternate declaration on his identity until DNA evidence was provided.
“We have now established that Kim Chol is Kim Jong Nam,” local press quoted Khalid Abu Bakar as saying.
But the Inspector-General refused to provide further details on the evidence used to confirm his identity, despite saying that Malaysia had fulfilled the legal requirements for identification.
“Due to the safety of the witnesses, I am not going to tell you how it’s done,” he added.
The Inspector-General also said that the body remains unclaimed and that it will be sent to the Malaysian Health Ministry.
North Korea has to date also been referring to the victim as Kim Chol, including in its limited state media coverage following his death, in which it identified him as “a citizen of the DPRK bearing a diplomatic passport.”
It has also strenuously denied any involvement in the February 13 incident, whereby Kim – the half-brother of current leader Kim Jong Un – was attacked at KLIA by two women and died shortly after.
Malaysian authorities subsequently announced that the victim had died as a result of exposure to VX, a powerful toxin classified by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction.
North Korea has rejected the findings, publicly criticized the Malaysian government and accused it of improper conduct throughout the investigation of the murder.
Malaysian police have so far arrested and expelled one North Korean suspect and have identified several others they believe to be involved in the murder, including a member of the DPRK Embassy in Malaysia and a staff member of its commercial airline – Air Koryo.
The two women involved in the attack were arrested and are currently facing murder charges under Section 302 of the Malaysian penal code, which carries the death penalty.